OU Heads to Auburn for SEC/Big 12 Challenge
SUNDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma finishes up its five-game road swing on Sunday at Auburn for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Sooners (2-4) are looking to snap a four-game losing skid as they make their first trip to Auburn Arena to face the Tigers (5-1).
OU is 76-75 against current members of the SEC and are looking for their first win in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
ON THE AIR
Sunday's game will be televised on the SEC Network with Brenda VanLengen (play-by-play) and Andraya Carter (analyst) on the call. The contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network with Chris Plank calling the action.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Oklahoma concludes its season-long five-game road swing on Sunday at Auburn for the 2018 SEC/Big Challenge. The Sooners have dropped four straight contests away from home as they head to Auburn to face the Tigers for the first time. OU is 76-75 all-time against current members of the SEC.
• The Sooners are 0-5 all-time in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and are seeking their first win in the event. OU has participated in the event in each of the last four seasons along with Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M. The Sooners fell in last year's edition to Florida, 80-61, inside Lloyd Noble Center.
• Freshman guard Taylor Robertson has knocked down 29 3-pointers, which is the second-most treys hit by a single player in the country this season. She also ranks second nationally with 4.83 3-pointers per contest. The freshman has scored at least 20 points in three of OU's six games this year and already ranks 10th on the Sooners' freshman record list for 3-pointers made in a single-season. The McPherson, Kan., native hit seven triples and led OU with 23 points at New Mexico on Wednesday.
• Freshman guard/forward Madi Williams is one of five Big 12 players to average a double-double so far this season. Williams is averaging 14.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest through six games this year. Williams is tied for fifth nationally in rebounding among freshmen. The Fort Worth, Texas, native finished with 16 points and eight rebounds on the road at New Mexico on Wednesday.
• The Sooners earned their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance last season and tied for third place with an 11-7 mark in the Big 12. The Sooners return two starters from last year's squad: sophomore guard Ana Llanusa (12.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and sophomore guard Shaina Pellington (13.1 ppg, 2.2 apg). Pellington was the 2018 Big 12 Freshman of the Year and both players were selected to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team along with earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selections.
• Auburn enters the contest with a 5-1 record after defeating Xavier (La.), 77-58, on the road on Wednesday. The Tigers are averaging 78.0 points per game and are shooting .450 from the field, .354 from beyond the arc and .689 from the free throw line. Auburn's pressure defense is averaging 12.3 steals per game, which ranks 24th nationally.
• Sophomore forward Unique Thompson leads the Tigers with 14.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. Thompson has recorded four double-doubles in six games this year and is 11th in Division I in rebounds per game. Senior guard Janiah McKay ranks second on the team with 14.2 points a contest and leads the team with 6.5 assists per game. Senior guard Emari Jones and junior guard Daisa Alexander also average scoring in double figures at 12.0 and 11.2 points per game, respectively.
• The Tigers are led by head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, who earned her 250th career win on Wednesday night in Auburn's victory over Xavier (La.). Williams-Flournoy is 107-92 in her seven seasons with the Tigers.
Shaina Pellington leads the Big 12 in scoring at 28.5 points per game.
GAME SIX RECAP: NEW MEXICO
• Oklahoma put together a furious comeback effort in the fourth quarter but it came up short as the Sooners fell 84-80 to New Mexico on Wednesday. Taylor Robertson led the Sooners (2-4) with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting for her third 20-point game of the season. Ahlisa Hurst provided the Lobos (4-1) with 39 points and knocked down nine 3-pointers against the Sooners.
• Madi Williams added 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks, while Shaina Pellington recorded 14 points, five rebounds and five steals. Mandy Simpson led OU with eight rebounds and chipped in 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The Sooners opened the game with a 15-4 lead as Robertson and Jessi Murcer buried early treys, but New Mexico answered with a 12-0 run to grab the lead after one quarter. Hurst scored 24 of her 39 points in the first half for the Lobos, knocking down seven treys from beyond the arc to give New Mexico a one-point lead at halftime.
• The Lobos took advantage of five straight Sooner turnovers early in the second half to build a 62-46 lead midway through the third quarter. The Sooners answered with a 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter to cut the New Mexico lead down to 68-66 with 4:58 to go. Simpson keyed the momentum swing for OU with six straight points. After a layup from Williams made it a one-possession game with 1:37 to go New Mexico's Jayla Everett answered with her lone 3-pointer of the night to put the Lobos back in front by five with under a minute to play.
• The Sooners were 10-of-22 (.455) from deep and posted a .420 (29-of-69) field goal percentage. New Mexico finished with a .390 shooting percentage (32-for-82) and also hit 10 3-pointers against OU. The Sooners won the rebounding battle, 50-48, and finished with 18 assists.
• Taylor Robertson has quickly made her mark as one of the top 3-point shooters in the country so far this season. She has also won Big 12 Freshman of the Week twice in the first three weeks of the season. Robertson has made 29 3-pointers this season, which already ranks 10th among all-time among OU freshmen.
• Robertson's eight 3-pointers against WKU in the Sooners' season opener set an OU single-game record for a freshman, besting the previous mark of seven held by Morgan Hook (Stephen F. Austin, 2010-11) and Derica Wyatt (UT-Arlington, 2013-14). Robertson's eight treys were one shy of tying the OU single-game record. The McPherson, Kan., native is just one of six players to make eight or more 3-pointers in a single game since 2000.
• At New Mexico, the freshman picked up her third 20-point scoring game of the season and finished with a team-high 23 points.
• Robertson has made at least two 3-pointers in six straight games to start the season, the second-best streak in school history (Aaryn Ellenberg made multiple 3-pointers in nine straight games to begin the 2010-11 season). Robertson ranks second nationally in 3-pointers per game (4.83) and in 3-point field goals made (29). She also leads the Big 12 with a perfect 1.000 free throw percentage.
ELEVATING HER GAME
• Sophomore guard Shaina Pellington spent the offseason improving her range from the outside. The hard work has paid off as Pellington scored a career-high 33 points in the season opener against WKU. Pellington's 33 points are the most by a Sooner in a season opener in program history.
• Pellington has scored in double figures in five of OU's six games this season, ranking fourth in the Big 12 with 16.8 points per game. She score her 500th career point Wednesday at New Mexico, accomplishing the feat in 37 games.
• Oklahoma enters the season with seven freshmen on its roster, the most for an OU team since the 2002-03 season which featured eight freshmen. The Sooners are one of two Power 5 teams (Boston College) with seven freshmen on their roster. Among all Division I teams, OU (seven), Boston College (seven), FAU (eight) and Wichita State (eight) are the only four teams with more than seven freshmen on their roster to begin the 2018-19 season.
• In OU's season opener, Tatum Veitenheimer and Madi Williams became the first pair of OU freshmen to start the first game of the regular season in the Sherri Coale era. Veitenheimer and Williams are the 11th and 12th freshmen to start a season opener, respectively, under Coale.
• The average age of OU's 12-member squad is 19.1 years old, which is tied for third youngest nationally among all Division I teams with Georgia Tech. Only UMBC and SMU have a younger roster by average age than the Sooners (19.0).
• Oklahoma's run of 19 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances ranks as the longest active streak by a team in the Big 12 and the fifth-best active streak among Division I women's basketball teams. OU's 19 straight NCAA bids is the ninth longest streak all-time in Division I. Only Tennessee (37), Stanford (31), Connecticut (30) and Notre Dame (23) have made more consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament than the Sooners.
The Sooners return home on Wednesday to face Central Arkansas inside Lloyd Noble Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma +.