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Columbia Missourian

Oklahoma State women's basketball tries to move on after tragedy

By Laura Oberle
January 21, 2012 | 8:57 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — There was no moment of silence, no special announcement, no recognition of the tragic event that scarred the Oklahoma State women's basketball team just over two months ago. 

If you didn't know Kurt Budke, the Oklahoma State women's basketball team's head coach and assistant coach, Miranda Serna, were killed in a Nov. 17 plane crash, you would not have learned it during Oklahoma State's 62-58 win Saturday at Mizzou Arena. 

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Oklahoma State media relations asked the MU athletics department not to recognize the tragic event, and the media was instructed to only ask questions pertaining to basketball.

Because Oklahoma State just wants to play basketball again.

"We're just trying to find some sense of normalcy, that's what I tell everybody," Ryan Cameron, OSU basketball spokesman said. "We're just trying to get them back into a normal routine of basketball and being student athletes."

For the Missouri-Oklahoma State game the upper-right corner of both team's jersey had an orange ribbon in the shape of a four, in remembrance of the four passengers who died in the crash.

The pilot, Olin Branstetter, former Oklahoma state senator, and Paula Branstetter, his wife, were also killed.

"The patches and the ribbons are enough," Cameron said. "We know that people are thinking about us, and that's all we ask for."

In Waco, Texas, where Missouri's men team played Baylor, there also was  support for Oklahoma State. Ribbons were handed out to all in attendance, and the two teams gathered at center court for prayer after the game.

Oklahoma State traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to open conference play against Texas Tech in early January, and when the game ended, Texas Tech's band played Oklahoma State's Alma Matter instead of its own.

Still, the Cowgirls find the emotional toll overwhelming.

"We found out it just opens the wound again for the girls, and we don't want to put them through that," Cameron said.

In preparation for the game, the MU athletics department spoke with Texas Tech and Baylor about how they could honor Oklahoma State, Keith Soder, MU basketball spokesperson, said. 

Missouri found the best way was to simply let Oklahoma State play basketball. 

"Coach Pingeton wanted to do whatever to help,” Soder said.

The OSU athletics department told Missouri the same thing it told reporters. 

"We say we just want to come and play basketball," Cameron said.