Ortiz Scores 31, Sooners Take Down No. 16 Bulls
|Points||Laksa - 21||Ortiz - 31|
|Rebounds||Jespersen - 12||Llanusa - 9|
|Assists||Prieto - 5||Penzo - 7|
|Steals||Three players - 1||Llanusa - 2|
|Blocks||Jespersen - 1||Manning - 1|
NORMAN- After trailing by three at halftime, the Oklahoma women’s basketball team came back to upset No. 16 USF, 79-74, at Lloyd Noble Center Saturday afternoon.
The win was OU's (4-5) first over a ranked team this season and marked the first victory by the Sooners against a top-25 non-conference team at home since 2013.
OU's second-half shooting was the key as the Sooners posted a .750 (18-of-24) clip from the field over the final two quarters. The Sooners trailed USF (7-2), 56-53, heading into the third quarter, but used a 17-3 run to secure the lead for good. OU outscored the Bulls, 26-18, in the frame and were a perfect 9-for-9 from the field.
"I have to talk about the finding of a heartbeat because that is what we have been searching for and I thought that we found it today," OU head coach Sherri Coale said. "You don’t lift up a rock and find it somewhere, you work and work and work and then kind of finds you, that steadiness of just showing up and staying after it and eventually allows it to emerge.
"As I told them in the locker room, I think that it shows exponential growth in our ability to move onto the next play. We missed the same layups that we have been missing the previous however many games, the difference today was that it didn’t carry into the next play. We were simply able to remain unaffected, to not show negative emotion and that response is key. If you are going to be successful it doesn’t matter what you do, your ability to respond in the right way is the answer to anything."
Gabbi Ortiz was lights out for Oklahoma as the senior went 8-for-12 from behind the arc and finished with a career-high 31 points on 9-of-14 shooting. In the first half alone, Ortiz had 18 points and all five of Oklahoma’s made three-pointers. The senior's eight treys are tied for the fourth most by a Sooner in a single game in school history and just one shy of tying the program record.
Ortiz's final 3-pointer of the game put the Sooners in front for good at 68-67 with 4:06 to play. The Racine, Wis., native's eight triples are the most by an OU player in one game since Peyton Little hit eight at Kansas State in 2015.
Vionise Pierre-Louis was almost perfect from the field, finishing with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting. The senior scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half. Freshman Ana Llanusa added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Sooners, both career highs. The freshman recorded eight of her 15 points in the final quarter.
In her second career start, Gileysa Penzo dished a career-high seven assists in 38 minutes of action. Maddie Manning filled the stat sheet with seven points, a career-high six assists and five rebounds in 40 minutes.
OU outshot the Bulls, .538-.415, from the field and forced the Bulls into 13 turnovers. The Sooners won the battle in the paint, outscoring USF by a 38-28 margin and scored 22 points off of USF turnovers.
Kitija Laksa led the Bulls with 21 points, while Maria Jespersen earned a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
The Sooners are back in action at Lloyd Noble Center on Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. CT to take on New Mexico. Tickets for the game are available here. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma.