Sooners Top Tigers

NORMAN, Okla. — Once again, the Sooners survive a close one against Missouri. Kayla Williams blocked Liz Smith's three point attempt with 2.4 seconds left to seal a 64-60 victory over the Tigers, sweeping the season series by a combined seven points.

"We switched on all the screens, we just worked on it this week in practice and thought we did a pretty good job of that," said OU head coach Sherri Coale. "Kay Kay was a little far away from her. We felt like she backed up a little bit, but going out and making the block was obviously huge."

Oklahoma held an eight point lead with 6:43 left in the game before the Tigers went on a 9-2 run over the next three minutes to cut the lead to one.

Whitney Hand's jumper with 3:51 left gave OU a three point lead. It was the last field goal of the game for the Sooners.

"It just felt like we weren't making shots," Hand said. "I didn't ever really feel like we were out of tempo. I just felt like, ‘Man, that should have gone in. Man, that should have gone in.' It's just kind of the whole game, and that's kind of the story of our last couple weeks is just we can't really find the basket, and it's frustrating. I mean, that kind of does, it takes the life out of you. And I don't know if we're mature enough right now to overcome that, so we need to make shots."

Hand did her part, scoring a team high 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting to go along with five boards and four assists, but the Sooners only had eight field goals in the second half.

"It's incredibly frustrating," Coale said. "We're getting good shots. We're getting wide open looks. We don't get a whole lot of offensive rebounds, and that's one of the reasons those situations develop. But after awhile, when you're missing and missing, it takes your energy, and if you don't come with a great deal of energy to begin with, then you flat learn pretty quickly."

Oklahoma came through from the charity stripe though, going 19-for-23 in the game, including 5-for-7 stretch to close out the final three minutes.

"Our team's achilles heel is putting ourselves in that position," Coale said. "We've actually been very, very good in tight situations down the stretch. We have made plays, whether it's been shots, defensive stops, emphatic rebounds. We've done all that. That's the hardest thing you can do. Where we failed is putting ourselves in that situation. Had we played with that degree of urgency through about a nine to 10-minute span in the middle of the second half, there wouldn't have been that sense at the end of the game."

Nevertheless, Oklahoma improves to 16-7 overall and 8-4 in the Big 12, while the loss drops Missouri to 10-13 overall, and 0-12 in conference play. The all time series is now tied at 29.

The Sooners host No. 3 Connecticut on Monday. OU is 1-2 at home against ranked opponents this season.

Game Notes:
--Oklahoma's 64-60 win over Missouri evened the all-time series 29-29 in the last scheduled meeting between the two teams. Missouri will be joining the Southeastern Conference next season.
--Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale recorded her 499th head coaching victory. The Sooners' head coach has 352 in her 16th season at Oklahoma and had 147 victories in seven years as Norman High School's head.
--Oklahoma's 2002 Final Four team was recognized at halftime for its 10th anniversary reunion. Members of the team returning for the weekend's festivities included Lindsey Casey, LaNeishea Caufield-Daniels, Jen Cunningham, Stacey Dales, Caton Hill-Simoni, Dionnah Jackson, Stephanie Luce, Kate Scott-Goldberg, Shannon Selmon-Carter, Lauren Shoush, Stephanie Simon, Jamie Talbert-Wyrick, Antoinette Wadsworth and the family of the late Rosalind Ross.
--The Sooners started the game shooting 1-for-7, but then hit four straight shots and finished the first half 12-of-24 to lead 33-26 at the intermission.

Hand
--Her 17 points led the Sooners. It was her fifth game this season, and second straight, with the team high in scoring.
--She recorded four assists for the third straight game and has had just two total turnovers in that span.

DaShawn Harden
--The Sooners' reserve point guard was efficient in limited action, totaling eight points (4-of-5 field goal shooting), two assists and one turnover in 10 minutes played.

Joanna McFarland
--She made her first start in her second game back from suffering a broken jaw on Jan. 14. The junior forward scored OU's first two points, five of OU's first seven and finished with nine total points and four rebounds.


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