Oklahoma State rallies after losing opener, beats McNeese State

STILLWATER, Okla. -- There was obvious disappointment for No. 19 Oklahoma State after losing its season opener against then-No. 8 Duke.

Despite routing McNeese State 89-56 on Tuesday night, the Cowgirls' morale wasn't much improved and coach Kurt Budke said he wasn't satisfied.

"I didn't think we were very good tonight," Budke said. "I thought they outcoached us and outperformed us. Our intensity is not very good right now. Defensively, we're not very good right now."

Still, the Cowgirls have Andrea Riley, and on many nights, that is enough. Riley had 22 points and eight assists, helping Oklahoma State (1-1) overcome a sluggish start.

The Cowgirls fell behind 7-2 early but grabbed a 38-26 lead at halftime and then pulled away by shooting 61 percent in the second half.

Riley, a preseason All-America selection, scored six straight points at the start of the second half and McNeese State came no closer than 15 the rest of the way.

"To me and everybody else in the locker room, it's not really how you want to start out in your home opener," Riley said. "I guess it was the nerves or something had to get to us. Tonight was just kind of a struggle for us."

Kristin Hernandez came off the bench to score 17 points for Oklahoma State and junior college transfer Tegan Cunningham added 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting in her Gallagher-Iba Arena debut.

"We didn't finish the way we wanted to but [the second half] was better than the first half," Hernandez said. "I looked up at the scoreboard one time and it was 30-20 and I didn't know what the problem was.

"We got into a little trouble and came back out and knew what we had to do," Hernandez said.

Shante' Perry led McNeese State (0-3) with 18 points and Caitlyn Baggett scored 15.

Megan Byford had 10 rebounds for Oklahoma State, which had a 46-30 edge on the boards and outscored McNeese State 32-12 in the paint.

Oklahoma State hasn't lost a non-conference home game since falling 75-68 in double overtime to in-state foe Tulsa in 2005. The Cowgirls will play four of their next five games at home.

"We're not hitting the panic button yet," Budke said. "We've got some defense and rebounding issues that we got to straighten out and we will. It's got to be better if we're going to succeed in the Big 12."