WHoops: Sooners Fall to Huskers

The Sooners fought back from 10 points down to take the lead in the second half but fell short of becoming the first team to defeat the No. 3 Nebraska Cornhuskers this year, as they dropped their second straight home game 80-64 in front of 7,756 Wednesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center.

"We had them on the ropes because we were playing so hard," said OU head coach Sherri Coale. "But you can't beat them if you shoot [in the 30s] from the field. The interesting thing is that we have been so good at the free throw line and we were just lousy tonight, and when we had to have one, we couldn't get it. You can't beat the top five teams in the country doing that."

The Sooners were 39.3 percent from the field to be exact and only 58.6 percent from the charity stripe.

After OU sprinted out to an early 10-6 lead, it was the Cornhuskers that took control.

Nebraska used a 21-8 run to gain a 27-18 advantage and maintained it thanks to a spirited 16-point first half effort from senior star forward Kelsey Griffin.

That propelled the Huskers to a four point lead, 33-29, at intermission.

And it appeared Nebraska would hang on easily, as they extended their lead back out to nine and even 10 when freshman guard Lindsey Moore buried a wide open three.

But that's when OU turned up the tempo and surged back into it.

The Sooners used a 9-0 run, anchored by senior center Abi Olajuwon, who racked up six quick points in the point, and senior guard Nyeshia Stevenson, who hit OU's first three, to close within one.

"I mean it's always nice when you hit shots, but you know everybody just kept telling everybody to keep shooting," said senior forward Amanda Thompson of the Sooners' three point struggles. "That's the mentality you have to have if you're a shooter."

After another bucket by the Cornhuskers, OU finally seized the lead when sophomore guard Jasmine Hartman canned a deep ball from the right corner to make it 56-54 OU.

But following a back-and-forth couple of minutes, Nebraska finished off the Sooners in dominating fashion, outscoring them 18-1 over the final 3:34.

"They just played with great urgency," Coale said. "And they were tougher, stronger and just better than we were down the stretch. You have to give them credit because they made plays."

OU simply never had an answer for either Griffin or senior forward Cory Montgomery.

Griffin, who troubled the Sooners for 11 field goals on 19 attempts, had a game-high 30 points, which also included an 8-for-10 performance from the free throw line.

And Montgomery added 24 on 9-of-18 shooting, hitting four crucial three pointers.

"Kelsey Griffin and Cory Montgomery took over," Coale said. "It's easy [to see that]. That's exactly what happened."

Olajuwon led the Sooners with 16 points, as she was 6-for-10 from the field.

Thompson and junior guard Danielle Robinson both finished with 15, although the two missed some shots they normally convert.

"I think it was just us rushing," Robinson said. "Those are shots we know we can make, but I definitely think more of it was being rushed and our lack of focus."

The Sooners now hit the road again for a 4 p.m. Saturday contest against arch rival Texas, the first of a two-game road stint.

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