Cyclones sweep Sooners

NORMAN, Okla. — Iowa State pulled away late and withstood a Sooner charge in the closing minutes to hold off the Sooners 72-68 and take the season series 2-0 Thursday night inside Lloyd Noble Center.

OU trailed by eight under the four-minute media timeout but held the Cyclones without a field goal the rest of the way, giving itself a chance to come back.

But each time the Sooners had an opportunity to bust back within a single possession down just four, they missed their looks.

Guards Aaryn Ellenberg and Nicole Kornet both came up empty on 3-pointers, and Ellenberg missed a two, while guard Morgan Hook's layup attempt inside the final minute also came up offline.

Before that even, though, OU just didn't maximize all its possessions.

"I know for us during a crucial possession we would turn it over, or when we needed a stop they'd get an offensive rebound and it would like take our life from us," Hook said.

The Cyclones finished it out at the free throw line, where they made hay with 34 attempts, netting 27 of those.

In fact, they shot 20 more free throws than did the Sooners, thanks to 26 fouls whistled on the home guys.

Outside of that, if you simply glanced at the stat sheet, you'd think OU had won the game.

"Let's see, we shot better from two than they did," said OU head coach Sherri Coale. "We shot better from three than they did. We shot better from the free throw line than they did. We had more rebounds than they did. We had more assists than they did. And we lost. That doesn't happen very often."

OU was 41 percent overall from the field, while limiting Iowa State to 37.5 percent.

The Sooners weren't outstanding from long range, making just six of their 18 attempts, but the Cyclones were a worse 3-of-14.

OU made all but two of its free throw attempts for 85.7 percent, while Iowa State finished 79.4 percent.

The Sooners, as Coale said, out-boarded the Cyclones 41-37 and dished out 12 assists to just seven for the visitors.

As it would suggest, the fouls were such a big factor OU quite simply couldn't ever get into any kind of offensive flow in the contest.

"Yeah, it was," Coale admitted. "We tried to run our shooters off screens and got called for illegal screens, so we couldn't do that action anymore. We tried to throw the ball in the post, we got called for illegal post ups. We couldn't do that anymore. So, we were a little bit handcuffed in what we could do, and shots are hard to come by when you can't create them for one another."

And Iowa State's length really bothered OU in a game that was such tightly officiated.

Forwards Hallie Christofferson and Chelsea Poppens combined for 46 points and 18 rebounds on the evening.

"It's really hard to defend when there's a physical post up and you're not allowed to fight it," Coale said. "It's just it's very difficult. They did a great job of posting up and demanding the basketball."

Four Sooners finished in double figures for the Sooners, as center Nicole Griffin and guards Ellenberg and Sharane Campbell each notched 14, while Hook had 13.

Guard Nicole Blaskowsky served as the third for the Cyclones with her 15 in a game that featured four Sooner starters fouling out.

"It was not a very pretty basketball game," Coale said. "That's for sure. I don't know when I've had four or five starters foul out. I've just never seen it."

The loss drops OU (8-4) behind Iowa State (9-4) in the Big 12 Conference standings, and it worsens its overall record to 18-6.

OU gets back to action with a 1:30 p.m. CT Sunday contest at Kansas.

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