Oklahoma State commits 21 turnovers but Cowgirls drop Bucs to advance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- There's more to Oklahoma State than Andrea Riley. A lot more, as it turns out.

Riley did her part with 26 points and five assists and three teammates made major contributions as Oklahoma State beat East Tennessee State 85-73 Saturday night in the opening round of the New Orleans Regional.

It wasn't the sharpest game Oklahoma State has played this season by any means. The third-seeded Cowgirls (26-7) committed 21 turnovers, matching their season high, and never could blow it open. But they'll take it.

Oklahoma State won in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996 and earned a second-round date with Ohio State or Florida State on Monday night.

"I don't think we played well and did just the things to get us a win," Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke said. "This tournament is about surviving and advancing and that's what we accomplished."

Riley, a super quick 5-foot-5 sophomore and a first-team all-Big 12 choice, didn't break down the Lady Bucs' defense as often as she did to most opponents this season and committed a season-high nine turnovers.

She still ran things capably enough, however, and her teammates found plenty of openings to score.

Maria Cordero had a season-high 23 points and nine rebounds, Taylor Hardeman scored 13 and Shaunte Smith added 10 points and 12 rebounds.

"I came in ready to play and my teammates passed the ball to me really well," said Cordero, who helped herself and her team by making nine of 10 free throws. "We didn't want to go out early like we did last year."

In the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament, Oklahoma State blew a 14-point lead and lost to Bowling Green 70-66. While the Cowgirls let a 17-point lead slip to seven in this one, they were never in danger of losing, though that was of little consolation to Budke.

"I didn't like our effort," he said. "I thought Maria was outstanding, I thought everybody else was just OK. I know this much, if we don't play better, we won't be here very long."

Michele DeVault hit six 3-pointers and scored 22 points to lead 14th-seeded East Tennessee State (21-12), which had taken an eight-game winning streak into its first NCAA tournament appearance.

Latisha Belcher added 14 points for the Lady Bucs, Siarre Evans scored 12 and TaRonda Wiles 10.

"There are no words to describe how proud I am of this team," ETSU coach Karen Kemp said. "My biggest fear going into this game was that we would just be in awe of everything because we were in our first NCAA tournament. We played really focused."

East Tennessee State, the Atlantic Sun champion, stayed with the Cowgirls early and even led 14-11 after 5 minutes. But that lead evaporated quickly once Oklahoma State got rolling.

Showing off their versatility, five different players scored for the Cowgirls during an 18-3 run that put them ahead 29-17.

Riley pulled up for a jumper and fed Kristin Hernandez for a layup. Hardeman hit a pair of 3-pointers. Cordero scored twice inside. Danielle Green contributed a putback and a free throw. Smith sank two free throws.

Wiles finally stopped the Cowgirls' momentum with a turnaround jumper, but the Lady Bucs trailed by double digits most of the way after that. It was 41-29 at halftime and an 8-0 run that included six points by Cordero stretched the lead to 52-35 early in the second half.

ETSU pulled to 67-60 on DeVault's 3 with 6:45 to play but got no closer. Oklahoma State scored eight of the next nine points to regain control and made 10 of 13 free throws down the stretch to stay safely ahead.