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Ever So Sweet: Oklahoma State Keeps Dancing With Win Against Purdue

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana -

It had been more than two months since Oklahoma State had won consecutive games.

The Cowgirls couldn't have picked a better time to change the trend.

Sophomore Brittney Martin turned in a monster performance with 20 points and 20 rebounds – three boards away from the NCAA record – to help lead fifth-seeded Oklahoma State to a 73-66 victory against No. 4-seed Purdue on the Boilermakers' home floor to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Sweet Sixteen berth is OSU's first since 2008 and just the third in Cowgirl history.

And it didn't come easily.

The Cowgirls lost star point guard Tiffany Bias for nearly 10 minutes in the second half with what appeared to be a left leg or ankle injury. It was a scary moment, as Bias stayed on the ground for several minutes in obvious extreme pain.

After Bias went straight to the OSU locker room, Purdue immediately closed to 52-46, but the Cowgirls buckled down and responded with a 9-4 run of their own and kept Purdue at a comfortable distance for the remainder of the contest.

By the time Bias returned the lineup with 2:45 left, OSU had the game well in hand.

Oklahoma State has made steady progress the past few seasons — winning the 2012 WNIT title, taking a double-digit lead in the second half of last year's second round game before losing at Duke and now finally returning to the NCAA regionals.

That experience showed in a hostile environment at Purdue, especially after Bias' injury.

The Boilermakers, meanwhile, have lost four straight second-round games — three straight to No. 5 seeds with two of those coming at Mackey Arena.

But the usually-stout Boilermakers never really found their rhythm, thanks largely to swarming defensive effort from Oklahoma State, which threw a variety of looks at Purdue, forcing it into 37.7 percent shooting from the field and 18 turnovers.

In addition to Martin's big showing, LaShawn Jones added a double-double of her own with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Cowgirls.

Roshunda Johnson provided an important spark for OSU with 16 points and also came up with four steals.

Purdue (22-9) was led by Whitney Bays with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Oklahoma State used an early 8-0 to take a 17-10 lead and, despite a few early runs from Purdue, that initial push set the tone for the evening and the Cowgirls establish a presence that dictated the flow of the contest.

Purdue's best effort to charge back came early on with a 10-2 run to claim a one-point lead on a layup, but the Pokes answered with a 9-2 run to retake the lead and never let go.

The Cowgirls led 38-31 at the half, opened the second half on a 9-1 spurt and kept the Boilermakers at arm's length from there on.

OSU will face top-seeded Notre Dame (34-0) on Saturday in South Bend, Ind. The Irish beat No. 9 seed Arizona State 84-67 on Monday.

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