Sooners Fight to the End Against No. 1 UConn
|Points||Manning - 15||Collier - 21|
|Rebounds||Pierre-Louis - 6||Williams - 10|
|Assists||Four Players - 2||Williams - 8|
|Steals||Two Players - 2||Four Players - 1|
|Blocks||Pierre-Louis - 3||Collier - 2|
UNCASVILLE, CONN. — Oklahoma battled tough with No. 1 UConn, but came up short on the road, 88-64, Tuesday in the Women's Holiday Showcase at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Sooners (5-6) trailed 48-33 at halftime, but rallied to cut the deficit down to 51-44 midway through the quarter. OU held the Huskies to just 1-of-8 shooting and forced four UConn turnovers to close the gap. A 7-0 run by the Sooners, capped off with a jumper from Shaina Pellington, forced the Huskies to take a timeout at the 4:49 mark in the third quarter.
The Huskies (9-0) closed the frame with a 13-3 run to extend their lead. The win for the Huskies gave UConn head coach Geno Auriemma his 1,000th career victory.
“I think (this game) helps us for the rest of the season because you have to be on the floor with that (UConn) to understand the level, both in terms of intensity and execution," OU head coach Sherri Coale said. "I did not think we were intimidated, I thought we played really hard, I thought we did good things and had success with things. So it just changes the way everybody else looks and feels when you go up against it.”
Maddie Manning led four Sooners in double figures with 15 points, all of which came in the first half on 6-of-11 shooting in 38 minutes. Manning knocked down three triples and pulled down three rebounds, while Vionise Pierre-Louis scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half and led OU with six rebounds.
Gabbi Ortiz finished in double figures for the fourth straight game, adding 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting. The senior hit three 3-pointers, recorded four rebounds and dished two assists. Pellington chipped in 10 points off the bench on 4-of-8 shooting.
The Huskies finished 34-of-64 (.531) from the field and were 11-of-26 (.423) from deep. OU shot .403 (25-of-62) from the floor and finished 7-of-20 (.350) from beyond the arc. The Sooners recorded five blocks and five steals, while UConn won the turnover battle, 16-13. OU was just the second team this season (UCLA) to trail by 15 points or fewer at halftime with the Huskies in the lead.
Naphessa Collier led UConn with 21 points and recorded nine rebounds, while Azura Stevens recorded 20 points off the bench on 8-of-10 shooting and picked up eight rebounds. Katie Lou Samuelson scored 19 points and dished six assists.
OU returns home to open Big 12 play on Dec. 28 against No. 8 Texas at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets are available here. The contest will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma.