WHoops Recovers From Slow Start, Defeats ISU

NORMAN, Okla. — Forward Joanna McFarland had herself a game, and so did several other Sooners, as OU won its Big 12 opener 80-51 over Iowa State.

"It was a good game," said McFarland, who was a board shy of a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds. "I was nervous for this game. I haven't been nervous for a game a lot this year with being a junior. It was kind of weird, but it was a lot of fun. They are a great team. I was just ready to go. I mean, it's Big 12 time. We were all ready to go. Our team played great."

McFarland had a monster first half, finishing the opening 20 minutes with 14 points and six rebounds, including 5-of-6 shooting from the field.

But it was a freshman trio, led by guard DaShawn Harden, that changed the pace of the game.

Trailing 18-12 midway through the first half, head coach Sherri Coale subbed in Harden for starting point guard Morgan Hook, who picked up two early fouls.

OU preceded to go on a 15-0 run, part of a 21-2 finish to the first half.

That allowed the Sooners to turn a six-point deficit into a 33-20 halftime advantage.

Over that time frame, Harden scored five of her 14 points.

"I was really excited," Harden said. "I knew I had to step up because Morgan got into foul trouble. I just went in and played. Of course, I was really nervous, but after a while it just went away. I was just able to read their defense better. Aaryn [Ellenberg] told me that people in this league are stronger and faster, so you can't throw wild passes, so I slowed myself down and thought about each pass before I made it."

Because of that, Harden followed up an eight-turnover performance with just one turnover in 23 minutes in this one.

Ellenberg was solid, too.

The speedy sophomore finished with a game-high 21 points, shooting the same 7-for-12 that McFarland did.

OU's defense was something to write home about, too.

The Sooners limited Iowa State to 35.5 percent from the field and really clamped down after that early deficit, especially during their late first half surge.

"They gave us great energy," said head coach Sherri Coale. "Defensively we really sped Iowa State up. There were several turnovers. I think Iowa State turned it over several times during that span. They made really good decisions running the team. Knocking down those shots really helped the team also."

Overall, it was just a really complete performance.

"I think that if you can win by 20 in this league, no matter where or who, that it is a pretty big deal," Coale said.

The game featured four ties and four lead changes and OU never trailed again after seizing a 19-18 advantage midway through the first half.

The Sooners now travel to Texas A&M for a 2 p.m. Sunday contest.

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