Lady Sooners Win Exhibition Opener

NORMAN, Okla. — It wasn't the prettiest display in front of a live audience for the first time, but nonetheless, a win's a win and that's just what it was as OU defeated UCO 86-52 in its exhibition opener.

"I appreciate UCO and the way they competed," said OU head coach Sherri Coale. "I just thought they played really hard, played with a great sense of urgency and didn't look the least bit intimidated by us or this arena. Because of that we got better, they gave us a great challenge and they pushed us and exposed our areas of weakness and that gives us good film to go back and learn from and get better over the course of the week."

The Sooners committed 26 turnovers, were less than dominant on the glass against an inferior Division II opponent and didn't defend all that well.

Rather, it was basically UCO missing shots that led to their 25 percent shooting as opposed to stingy Sooner defense.

"Defensively, we were terrible at best," said OU guard Whitney Hand. "We have a lot of work left to."

But the Sooners did some positive things as well.

They shot 46.3 percent and were above 50 percent for a large part of the contest.

They hit 10-of-21 3-pointers, good for 47.6 percent.

They had 17 steals.

And they did, of course, win the game by 34 points.

"It's not bad," Hand said. "We can score, we just have to play defense."

But it was a sluggish start for the 15th-ranked Sooners.

Three times in the opening seven minutes they trailed.

In fact, OU was behind 12-11 before it used a 21-6 run midway through the first half to capture a 32-18 advantage.

That's when OU imposed its will and put the game away, scoring 18 of the game's next 26 points to lead 50-26 at intermission.

A lot of that was because of good perimeter play, especially from guard Aaryn Ellenberg, who nailed four threes on eight attempts in the first 20 minutes, but also from the two point guards, Morgan Hook and DaShawn Harden, who combined for 14 points and four assists but three turnovers in the half.

"We've got a long ways to go, but they are working as best they can to really try and be in control of everyone and what we do and what they are supposed to do," Ellenberg said of her point guards. "It's going to take a time to let them get used to that. DaShawn is more of a passer, she's a little bit quicker. Morgan is more smooth-paced and she can shoot the three."

Indeed, she was a perfect 3-of-3 from behind the arc in the contest on her way to 11 points, also getting in on the action on the glass and distributing dimes.

"Well, I think Morgan Hook was pretty good," Coale said. "You look at her line, she's 3-for-3 from the 3 and she has six rebounds, five assists and one turnover. That's a pretty good stat line."

The Sooners extended their halftime lead to 30 by the first media timeout of the second half, at which point they were up 62-32.

And they put it in cruise control after that, never leading by less than 19 again and getting up by as much as 37 with less than a minute to go.

Ellenberg led all scorers with her 20 on 7-of-19 shooting, while four other Sooners finished in double figures.

Guards Hand, Harden, Sharane Campbell and Hook had 13, 12, 12 and 11, respectively.

Guard Britney Morgan led the way with 12 for UCO.

OU plays its final exhibition game against Grand Canyon at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 inside Lloyd Noble Center before opening up the regular season versus Sacramento State in 11 days.

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