Riley’s late free throws sends Oklahoma State to overtime win
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP)—The whistle blew just in time for Andrea Riley and Oklahoma State.
Riley sank a free throw with 0.7 seconds left in overtime to give Oklahoma State a 73-72 victory over a gritty Florida State team Monday night in the second round of the New Orleans Regional.
The back-and-forth game appeared headed to a second overtime when Riley was trapped 18 feet from the basket with time about to run out. She went up for what would have been an awkward shot and official Teresa Dahlem whistled a foul on Florida State’s Shante Williams just as the buzzer sounded.
The officials then checked the TV monitor and put 0.7 seconds on the clock. Riley, who had missed two free throws on her previous trip to the line, bricked the first one but nailed the second, then intercepted Florida State’s long inbounds pass, allowing the Cowgirls to escape.
“I’ve always dreamed about making the big play at the end, on TV,” Riley said. “I’m just glad it was me.”
So, two years after going 0-16 in the Big 12, Oklahoma State is in the round of 16. The third-seeded Cowgirls (27-7) will play No. 2 seed LSU in the regional semifinals next Saturday.
Danielle Green led Oklahoma State with 23 points and Riley scored 21, though she shot just 8-for-25.
“I think all the coaches knew we would get there,” said Budke, who left the tradition-rich program at Louisiana Tech for Oklahoma State in 2005. “But maybe not this quick.
Florida State (19-14), the 11th seed, surprised many by even getting into the tournament. But the Seminoles upset sixth-seeded Ohio State in the first round, then gave Oklahoma State all it could handle, just missing a second straight trip to the regional semis.
It was a tough way to go out, but Florida State coach Sue Semrau did not quibble with the late foul.
“The officials came over and said there was time on the clock,” Semrau said. “The officials are the authority on the court and we have to go by their call.”
Mara Freshour led the Seminoles with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Williams scored 16 of her 19 after halftime and Jacinta Monroe added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Oklahoma State had seemingly taken control when Maria Cordero’s 3-pointer gave the Cowgirls a 70-65 lead with 1:36 left. But Florida State clawed back behind two clutch 3s from Freshour.
The first cut the lead to 70-69 with just under a minute to play. After OSU’s Megan Byford scored inside to make it a three-point game, Freshour nailed another 3 to tie it with 17.7 seconds left.
Oklahoma then put the ball in the hands of Riley, its 5-foot-5 all-Big 12 guard, but she wasted too much time, got trapped, then was saved by the whistle.
“I was getting a little antsy, but we’ve finished a lot of games like that this year,” Budke said. “She wanted to have the last shot in the game and it’s her specialty. We’re going to live and die with her.”
There were 16 ties and 19 lead changes in regulation, which ended 65-all.
Florida State led 64-61 after Monroe sank two free throws with 1:50 left. Riley’s follow shot pulled the Cowgirls to within a point, and after Riley and Williams each missed a shot, Williams made the first of two free throws with 20.4 seconds remaining for a 65-63 lead.
She missed the second, Green grabbed the rebound and took off. She drove the length of the court, spun on the left block and banked in a layup to tie it with 13.8 seconds to go. Williams missed a well-defended jumper just before the buzzer.
Oklahoma State was just 4-for-24 from 3-point range but got the big one from Cordero in the overtime.
Riley went 1-for-10 from the field in the first half and missed all five of her 3-point shots in the game. But she drove to the basket more in the second half instead of settling for pull-up jumpers and scored 17 points after halftime.
“I wasn’t really on tonight and I just had my teammates motivate me,” Riley said. “Coach is so happy and to see everyone with smiles on their faces, I didn’t want to let anyone down.”
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