Oklahoma State ends tragic season with WNIT title

By Jeff Latzke

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 31 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

"I'm so proud of this group, what they've accomplished this year," Littell said. "When you're talking in terms of the heart, it's been a long, tough year. When you're talking in terms of basketball, this group has accomplished so much and gotten so much better."

Kiara Francisco scored 14 points, and Nikki Newman added 13 for James Madison. Kirby Burkholder, who averaged 18 points through the first five tournament games, had only eight on 3-for-14 shooting with five turnovers.

The Dukes made the NCAA tournament the past two years with high-scoring guard Dawn Evans, the nation's No. 3 scorer last season and the career scoring leader in the Colonial Athletic Association.

James Madison beat two Big East teams and two Atlantic Coast Conference teams to make it to the finals.

"That was a big statement that we were trying to make, to show them that we belonged in the NCAA tournament," Brooks said. "Our ultimate goal is to get to the NCAA tournament but this experience here, I think it will show a lot of people in the country that we're a pretty good basketball team and hopefully we'll get that opportunity next year."

The Cowgirls surged ahead to stay about 5 minutes into the game, ripping off a 17-4 run to go up 23-13 after Bias' layup off a backdoor cut with 7:39 left before halftime.

James Madison closed within four but then allowed a string of nine straight points spanning halftime to fall behind again.

Young had the final two baskets before halftime, including a transition layup just before the buzzer when James Madison failed to hold for final shot, and then added a jumper to start the second half. Donohoe's 3-pointer from the left wing made it 40-26 in the first minute after halftime.

"They just went on a tear, which really built a big hole for us. We were forced from that point on to try to dig ourselves out, and we did to a certain degree," Brooks said. "We just didn't have enough energy down the stretch."

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