Robinson Leads OU to Victory in Home Opener

NORMAN, Okla. — The OU women's basketball team leapt out to a 15-point lead before the Western Illinois Leathernecks even got on the board and rode that early burst to a 84-43 victory in front of 5,012 at Lloyd Noble Center Friday night, moving to 2-0 on the season.

"I'm proud of our guys," said OU head coach Sherri Coale. "I thought we really competed for 40 minutes. We got a lot of things to still work on, a lot of things, but I thought we played against the game and did a nice job of keeping our focus directed on the possession at hand. Everybody who came in contributed in some form or fashion, so a good early performance, but still lots of room for improvement."

The Sooners held the Leathernecks scoreless for the first 5:53 until WIU senior guard Erica Lewis converted a pair of free throws to make it 15-2.

In fact, the Leathernecks didn't hit a field goal until the 13:19 mark in the first half.

"I thought we played well defensively," Coale said. "I thought we played real hard, and we played smarter than we did in Milwaukee. We played real hard, but we were greedy [the other night], and tonight our position was better. We stayed between our guy and the rim. And we were a little bit smarter on our trapping angles and our gapping."

And that's a big reason why OU held WIU to only 23 points on 29.2 percent shooting in the first half, en route to a 46-23 lead at intermission.

In the second half, it only got better on the defensive end, as the Sooners limited the visitors to a miserable 25.9 percent, lowering their game average to 27.5 percent from the field.

Not only did they get in done on defense, though.

The Sooners also scored at will on the other end of the court, making 33-of-66 for 50 percent in the contest.

A large part of that was just taking care of the basketball, where OU turned it over only 13 times.

"You know, we limited our turnovers today," said senior guard Danielle Robinson. "So, that's a step in the right direction."

One area where the Sooners didn't quite get the job done, however, was in the rebounding department, where they had only a 38-34 advantage.

"Rebounding, for one, [was a problem]," Coale said. "It wasn't until about three or four minutes left in the game that we moved ahead in the rebounding margin and still we ended up only out-rebounding them by four. We've got to get more second chance points on offense. We go through spells on offense where we don't make baskets, [and] we have to get more than one attempt."

Despite that narrow rebounding edge and 16 second chance points on only eight offensive boards, they managed to lead by as much as 44 points in the game when freshman guard Morgan Hook canned a three with 1:05 remaining.

Robinson guided the Sooners with 20 points on 8-for-15 shooting and had six assists to three turnovers.

Sophomore forward Lyndsey Cloman added 13 points, and freshman guard Aaryn Ellenberg had equally as many in her home debut.

"It was great, I mean, with that highlight video," Ellenberg said. "Yeah, I was real excited to get out there, so, I mean, it felt a little bit different than the previous exhibition game we had. But I just felt like it was time to really get it started and just show what we got basically."

What the Sooners have now is a date with the Fresno State Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Monday at Lloyd Noble Center.

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