Women’s basketball: Cowgirls have something to lose against Notre Dame
Notre Dame stands in way of Oklahoma State’s first Elite Eight appearance.
Published: March 28, 2014 06:46PM
Updated: March 28, 2014 11:33PM

South Bend, Ind. • Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell doesn’t want to hear the Cowgirls have nothing to lose against unbeaten Notre Dame.

“I’ve heard 50 times and had probably 200 texts in the last three or four days, ‘You have nothing to lose.’ Well, absolutely we have things to lose. We have a chance to move on to the Elite Eight or Final Four. I guess I’m not big on that statement.”

A win Saturday would give the Cowgirls a spot in the regional final, the furthest they’ve ever advanced.

The Irish (34-0) head into their game against the Cowgirls (25-8) not only undefeated, but have been seriously challenged in only a few games.

The only games they failed to win by double digits were a seven-point victory at Virginia and a four-point win at Maryland.

Coach Muffet McGraw said the key to the Irish success is they haven’t focused on the big picture.

“We’ve just really embraced where we are in the journey and enjoyed each step of it. I think the most pressure was getting back home” for the regional semifinals, McGraw said.

The Cowgirls opened the season 12-0, the best start in school history, and got to a 17-1, but then didn’t win consecutive games until beating Florida Gulf Coast and Purdue in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. But Littell said the Cowgirls are where they want to be.

“Right now we’re playing our best basketball of the year. That’s the time of year to be doing it,” he said.

Women’s NCAA Tournament

Saturday’s Sweet 16 games

Lincoln Region

• UConn (36-0) vs. BYU (28-6), 2:30 p.m., ESPN

• DePaul (29-6) vs. Texas A&M (26-8), 5 p.m., ESPN

Notre Dame Region

• Kentucky (26-8) vs. Baylor (31-4), 10 a.m., ESPN

• Notre Dame (34-0) vs. Oklahoma State (25-8), 12:30 p.m., ESPN