CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) St. Bonaventure didn’t know whether it would be invited to the NCAA Tournament when the field was announced, and chances seemed slim.
On Friday, the Bonnies showed they belonged.
Katie Healy had 23 points and three steals to lead St. Bonaventure to an upset of Oklahoma State 65-54 on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
”On the floor, you could see how hard we wanted to win and how hard we were working to get this one,” Healy said.
Nyla Rueter added 15 points and Miranda Drummond scored 11 for the No. 10 seed Bonnies (24-7).
”We’ve got kids who have a ton of heart and who don’t want to let each other down, which is what makes the team special. And we’re pretty darn good, too,” said St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley.
Brittney Martin had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Sydney Walton had 13 points for the Cowgirls (21-10), the No. 7 seed in the Dallas Regional.
St. Bonaventure faces No. 2 seed Oregon State on Sunday.
The game was tight in the fourth quarter, as the Cowgirls trailed 47-44 after a Walton layup with about eight minutes left. Healy scored seven straight points to give St. Bonaventure a much-needed cushion, however.
”We cut it to three on numerous occasions in the second half, and they answered the call every time,” said Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell, the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
The Bonnies outscored the Cowgirls 11-5 in the last four minutes of the game.
St. Bonaventure shot 50 percent from the floor, compared with 34 percent for Oklahoma State, and also outrebounded the Cowgirls 33-28. Oklahoma State shot 18-for-29 from the free throw line.
The Cowgirls jumped out to an early 11-3 lead on a Walton 3-pointer. But the Bonnies answered with a 10-1 run to move in front 13-12, capped by Drummond’s 3-pointer.
Matea Britvar’s jumper pushed the Bonnies’ lead to 24-13, but the Cowgirls chipped away and closed the gap to 28-23 on another Walton 3-pointer.
St. Bonaventure led 33-28 at the break.
It was thought that the Bonnies might be at a disadvantage because of their struggles this season away from Reilly Center. St. Bonaventure went a perfect 16-0 this season at home, but was 7-6 on the road.
St. Bonaventure: This is the second tournament appearance for the Bonnies, an at-large bid out of the Atlantic 10. The squad made the Sweet 16 in 2012. … Healy led St. Bonaventure with 15.3 points and seven rebounds per game and was named first-team all conference. .. Opponents shot 34.8 percent against the Bonnies this season, which ranked 13th in the nation.
Oklahoma State: Martin was the Big 12 Player of the Year and co-Defensive Player of the Year, and averaged 20.3 points and 11.1 rebounds. . The Cowgirls, an at-large bid out of the Big 12, were making their fourth straight NCAA tourney appearance. Last year, the team was a 10-seed and lost to Florida Gulf Coast in the first round. . The Cowgirls are in the midst of a program-record 10 consecutive postseason appearances, including three WNIT bids.
FOUL TROUBLE: Crowley credited his team for adjusting when players got into second-half foul trouble. ”It could be really easy to get frustrated or lose that discipline when the fouls are coming and they never did.”
NEXT GAME: Crowley said he’s followed Oregon State for years. ”When you’re a coach, you don’t sleep much, the Pac-12 Network back east is great,” he added.
St. Bonaventure faces Oregon State on Sunday.