No. 21 Oklahoma State uses early run to put away Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke sure doesn't seem to be worried about Andrea Riley becoming overconfident.

His star guard scored 37 points to lead the Cowgirls (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) to a 76-69 victory Thursday in the first round of the Big 12 tournament, prompting Budke to compare Riley to Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

"Her field goal percentage goes up the last three minutes in the game," Budke said. "She's a lot like Kobe. Kobe just goes out and wins games. That's Andrea Riley."

Her 37 points broke the previous tournament record set by former Oklahoma star Courtney Paris in 2006. Riley also tied Paris' Big 12 scoring record of 2,729 points while playing in her school-record 129th game, and can break the mark in Friday's quarterfinal against Iowa State.

"I know my team always has confidence in me," said Riley, who had 20 points by halftime and scored Oklahoma State's final seven of the game. "And I always don't want to let them down."

Carolyn Davis made a contested layup with 12:22 left that capped an 8-0 spurt and gave the Jayhawks a 49-47 lead, their first since early in the first half. Oklahoma State (22-9) quickly responded by scoring the next seven points and never trailed again.

Davis had 31 points for Kansas (15-15), which lost its final six games.

"I knew that every time I got the ball, I had to score or try to hit a teammate to score," said Davis, who went point-for-point with Riley for most of the game.

The Jayhawks managed to trim a double-figure lead to one possession in the closing minutes, but never could come all the way back. Marisha Brown's three-point play off a miss cut Oklahoma State's lead to 69-66, and Nicollette Smith buried a 3 with 56 seconds left to make it 72-69.

Toni Young finished with 16 points and Tegan Cunningham had 14 for the Cowgirls.

"We knew they were going to step up," Cunningham said. "I think we just wanted it more. We've been down in situations before. We know how to handle ourselves."

After missing Kansas' last game because of a concussion sustained in practice, Davis checked in with 17:46 left in the first half and quickly rattled off six straight points. It was a much-needed outburst for a team that hadn't scored more than 54 points in its last five games.

Riley wasn't exactly sitting around, either.

Just about the only difference between them was that Riley scored from all over the court while Davis did most of her damage inside. Riley could have scored more, too, but she tossed up two air balls and missed two layups. She finished the first half 5 of 18 from the field, while Davis scored 14 first-half points and made all five of her field goal attempts.

"I'm not even sure what a bad shot is for her," Budke said of Riley.

Riley and Cunningham came into the game averaging a combined 41.9 points -- tied for most in the nation by a tandem -- and didn't slow up. They scored 11 of the Cowgirls' first 13 points, along with their final nine before halftime. Cunningham finished with 14 in the game.

Picked before the season to finish second in the Big 12 and once nationally ranked, injuries and inconsistent play plagued Kansas down the stretch.

The Jayhawks played their 10th straight game without leading scorer Danielle McCray or starting point guard Angel Goodrich, both of whom suffered season-ending ACL injuries. Goodrich injured her knee in a 70-68 loss against Oklahoma State on Jan. 12.

Shortly after Kansas cut Oklahoma State's lead to one with 3:10 left in the first half, the Cowgirls responded with a 9-2 run before halftime. Riley crossed over and buried a deep 3-pointer as time expired, giving Oklahoma State a 42-34 halftime cushion.

"She hit that one," Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said, "and that was like a dagger going into the locker room."