Lady Sooners Win Red River Round I

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners continued their recent hot streak against the Texas Longhorns, winning their fourth straight and ninth out of the last 11 meetings between the two with a 73-67 decision Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center.

And they did it again in wire-to-wire fashion.

The Sooners led the entire way after guard Aaryn Ellenberg, who finished with a game-high 18 points, put home the game's opening points on a layup just 23 seconds in.

OU virtually dictated the tempo of the game from that point on, keeping Texas at bay every time it tried to or even did make a run.

"In some ways it was similar to the game in Manhattan in that every time they made a run we had an answer for it," Coale said. "And I think that's a sign of growth, a very healthy thing for our team."

Indeed, the Sooners got up by 10 midway through the first half, Texas cut it to one, and they responded with a 10-2 run to regain a nine-point advantage.

Early in the second half, the Sooners led again by 10, Texas cut it to three, and they responded with a 9-0 spurt to capture their largest lead of the game at the time at 12.

Later in the half, they seized their biggest lead of the contest at 16 with 8:05 remaining, Texas closed back to within single digits, but the Sooners prevented them from climbing the ladder all the way back into it.

As always, though, Coale found some teaching points out of it.

"I would like to not give them so many runs to put us in that situation," Coale said. "We get a little bit flat sometimes, get a cushion and don't maintain that sense of urgency and I think just will come with time."

There were lots of possessions that ended in turnovers, 23, in fact, and that's really the only reason Texas even kept it close.

The Sooners spoiled three of those possessions with shot clock violations where they looked completely out of sync offensively.

"It was ugly, ugly," Coale said. "They do a great job of pressuring the basketball, and their bigs are long and take up a lot of space. And so, when we ran ball screens, they'd jump out and trap. We seemed to have a hard time making the extra pass out of the trap and getting the ball to the back side of the floor where it was open."

Point guard Morgan Hook, normally sure-handed with the pumpkin, committed a team-high six turnovers, while guards DaShawn Harden and Aaryn Ellenberg had four and three, respectively.

If you take away some of those possessions with turnovers, however, OU actually worked with a lot of offensive precision.

"When we were't turning it over, we were getting wide open layups," Coale said. "It just boils down to fundamentals, and that's what the point guards and I will watch on film. It's the difference between taking a step toward a pass when it's coming to you and not. That changes the entire possession. You meet that one pass, now you have numbers. You have an advantage. Here we go."

Bright spots certainly included the scoring outputs from Ellenberg, Hook and Campbell.

Ellenberg shot rhythmically from the outside, hitting 3-of-3 from behind the arc.

"I am one of the key scorers on our team and, in those kinds of situations, I need to step up and take some sort of control," Ellenberg said. "But, all of our teammates are good attacking with all that pressure."

Hook added 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting and Campbell provided 15 off the bench, making three of her eight attempts.

Guard Whitney Hand's defense on talented Texas guard Chassidy Fussell was another plus.

Hand held her to just 4-of-17 shooting, as she barely reached double figures with 10 points.

And today's performance was just another example of her moxie as a leader that has enabled the team to come together in recent days since forward Joanna McFarland broke her jaw.

"I don't have any words to even explain that, the poise the grit, the confidence, the respect that she has of the people around her which enables her to share that poise and grit and confidence with them," Coale said. "You can't put a price tag on it. I'm so much less important in terms of what happens than she is. It's incredible."

Hand just attributes it to the rest of her team, though.

"I am really proud of our team and how we have responded to that, with the loss of Jo," Hand said. "Coach challenged us each that we have to be better. Jo, especially at the point when she got hurt, was productive. But I really feel like Kay Kay [Kaylon Williams] had a great game against K-State. Sharane had a great game today and we are just picking up those pieces, so I am proud of that."

So far, the Sooners are 2-0 without their starting forward, including this victory over the Longhorns and the former over Kansas State.

In this one, OU finished 44.2 percent from the floor, while limiting the Longhorns to just 30.1 percent.

OU out-rebounded Texas 48-44 and hit eight threes to just four for the visitors.

The Sooners now await a contest against the nation's top-ranked team, when they host the 17-0 Baylor Bears at 7 p.m. Thursday inside Lloyd Noble Center.

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