Post Play Comes Up Big At Missouri

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 28, 2012

(13-6, 5-3 Big 12)
  1st 2nd F
 Oklahoma 28 34 62
 Missouri 31 28 59
Box Score | Postgame Notes

(10-9, 0-8 Big 12)
 Stat Comparison OU MU
 Points 62 59
 FG Made-Attempted 20-60 20-60
 FG Percentage .333 .333
 3P Made/Attempted 4-17 5-20
 3P Percentage .250 .235
 FT Made-Attempted 18-24 14-18
 FT Percentage .750 .778
 Rebounds 45 42
 Turnovers 15 18
 Individual Leaders
 Stat  Oklahoma  Missouri
 Points  Hook (14)  Flores (24)
 Rebounds  Williams (16)  Flores (16)
 Assists  4 Players (2)  Simmons (4)
 Steals  Campbell (4)  Crafton (3)
 Blocks  Griffin (2)  Flores (5)
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 Season Stats | Big 12 Conference | NCAA

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Morgan Hook scored a game-high 14 points, including the game-clinching bucket, to help Oklahoma (13-6, 5-3 Big 12) survive a sluggish start and poor shooting performance in a 62-59 win at Missouri (10-9, 0-8 Big 12) Saturday.

Oklahoma connected on just 33 percent of its field goals and made only four of 17 3-pointers, but received key plays from its 'bigs' to keep Missouri winless in Big 12 play.

Sophomore center Nicole Griffin added 12 points and was 4-for-5 from the free-throw line in the second half and freshman forward Kaylon Williams had season highs with 11 points and 16 rebounds -- the most by a Sooner this year -- to counteract the Tigers' potent frontcourt.

"Kaylon Williams, as a true freshman, was just awesome in terms of going to get rebounds," OU head coach Sherri Coale said.

"She's just out there playing and trying to learn on the fly. The curve is just so big for those freshmen. The absence of (Joanna McFarland) has just added to the difficulty."

The Sooners were without McFarland, a junior forward, for the fourth straight game. McFarland, the team's leading rebounder, is out indefinitely with a broken jaw.

Added with the preseason injuries to senior Jasmine Hartman and junior Lyndsey Cloman, the Sooners had no one on the active roster who played in the last matchup at Mizzou Arena two seasons ago.

Freshman guard Sharane Campbell was 8-for-8 on free throws for 11 first-half points as another Sooner freshman helped keep OU in the fight by cutting an 11-point deficit to just 31-28 at halftime.

After allowing Missouri's leading-scorer Christine Flores to consistently make plays at the rim, Coale sent a message to her starting center by having her watch from the bench for the first nine minutes of the second half.

"I basically wasn't doing the job that I was supposed to be prepared do," Griffin said, "but I watched what (Flores) was doing and figured out what adjustments I could make."

Flores' layup put Missouri up by 1 with 3:23 remaining, which would be her final points of the game, and Griffin repsonded by turning an offensive rebound into the go-ahead points for OU.

After Flores missed a 3, Griffin blocked a second-chance attempt and Hook crossed the court for OU's final field goal to give the Sooners a 59-56 lead. Williams corralled the next two Missouri misses as both teams went scoreless for until the final 20 seconds.

"Kay Kay (Williams) really stepped up," Griffin said. "It was good to see her look comfortable and confident and play aggressively."

Flores fouled out while tugging at Williams as the two ran down a long rebound from a Whitney Hand 3-point miss. Williams appeared to have OU in the clear after making her second free throw to give the Sooners a 4-point cushion, but Morgan Eye sailed a wild shot 22 feet from the rim through nothing but net with 9.0 seconds to play.

Hand found Hook on the ensuing inbounds play and the Sooners' point guard hit her two free throws to force a 3-point play from Missouri with 8.1 seconds left. The Sooners substituted a four-guard lineup and defended only the 3-point arc, tightly contesting Liene Priede's last-ditch attempt that banged wide left.

"We didn't look hungry, we didn't play with great effort," Coale said. "Luckily, in the second half we did. We were more like us. Made big plays."

Missouri appeared to be on the way to a blowout against a lethargic Oklahoma offense that tussled with Brittney Griner and No. 1 Baylor less than two nights earlier, but the Tigers allowed the Sooners to fight through 13 second-half lead changes while OU's leading-scorer Aaryn Ellenberg was held to just two points and Hand sat on the bench with foul trouble.

Flores hit a 3 to make the score 24-13 by the 13th minute of play, but Campbell forced her way to the free throw line on two of the next four possessions, then connected on a 3 with just under 4 minutes remaining in the period to tighten it to 26-20.

From there, it seemed the Sooners' swagger was back as Hook and Hand finished the half with their own 3's to close the gap.

It was the next to last scheduled meeting of the two teams before Missouri departs for the Southeastern Conference next season. The Sooners have a chance to even the series record at 29 wins apiece when the Tigers visit Norman on Saturday, Feb. 11.

"I know, down the road, this experience is going to be invaluable for these guys," Coale said. "They're developing a reservoir of mental toughness, an ability to make plays in tight situations."

Oklahoma faces another brief rest before playing on the road again at Kansas Tuesday, Jan. 31.



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