Sooners Host Undefeated New Mexico on Saturday
SATURDAY'S GAME BASICS
The Sooners host their final home non-conference game of the season as New Mexico visits Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. The Lobos enter the game as one of 11 unbeaten teams left in the country at 11-0. OU has won the last five meetings against New Mexico.
ON THE AIR
Saturday's game will be televised on Fox Sport Oklahoma with Adam Young, Brenda VanLengen and Megan McDonald on the call. The contest will also air on the Sooner Radio Network with Brian Brinkley and McKenna Treece calling the action.
Tickets are available for $10 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. OU students will be admitted free with a valid school I.D.
Fans are encouraged to bring a stuffed animal to the game for the second annual Teddy Bear Toss. All donations will go to the United Way. The first 500 kids will receive Christmas stockings. Fans will also have a chance to have their picture taken with Santa Claus starting at 1 p.m. through halftime.
Fans are also encouraged to wear their favorite holiday sweater - the best sweaters will win prizes throughout the game. The Sooners will also sign autographs after the game on the south concourse of Lloyd Noble Center.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Oklahoma wraps up its home non-conference schedule on Saturday as it hosts undefeated New Mexico at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners have won five straight meetings against the Lobos dating back to 2005 and lead the all-time series with New Mexico, 9-2.
• Senior guard Gabbi Ortiz turned in a career performance against South Florida last Saturday, finishing with a career-high 31 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The senior knocked down eight 3-pointers in the victory, which is tied for the fourth-most in a single game by a Sooner in program history. Heading into Saturday's matchup with New Mexico, Ortiz leads the Big 12 in minutes played (38.1), 3-pointers made per game (3.4) and free throw percentage (.952). The senior's 3.4 3-pointers per game rank 16th in Division I.
• Oklahoma is the only school in the Big 12 to have mulitple 30-point scoring performances this season: Gabbi Ortiz (31 vs. South Florida) and Vionise Pierre-Louis (32 at Oregon). Its the first time OU has had two different players with 30-point scoring performance in one year since the 2010-11 season (Aaryn Ellenberg and Danielle Robinson).
• OU's freshmen duo of Ana Llanusa and Shaina Pellington are two of the top three scorers among Big 12 freshmen. Pellington leads Big 12 freshmen at 12.8 points per game and a .541 field goal percentage. Llanusa has scored in double figures six times in her first nine collegiate games and is third among Big 12 freshmen with 10.8 points per game.
• In OU's four wins, getting to the free throw line has been key. The Sooners are averaging 17.3 free throws made per game in each victory this season. Nationally, the Sooners rank 30th in free throw attempts (205) and 33rd in the nation in free throws made (148).
GAME NINE RECAP: SOUTH FLORIDA
• After trailing by three at halftime, Oklahoma came back to upset No. 16 USF, 79-74, at Lloyd Noble Center last Saturday. The win was OU's first over a ranked team this season and marked the first victory by the Sooners against a top-25 non-conference foe 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, 56-53, heading into the third quarter, but used a 17-3 run to secure the lead for good.
• 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.
• 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. 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. Gileysa Penzo dished a career-high seven assists, while Maddie Manning filled the stat sheet with seven points and six assists.
Vionise Pierre-Louis ranks seventh in Division I with a .649 field goal percentage. The senior is averaging 16.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this season.
PREVIEWING NEW MEXICO
• New Mexico enters the contest with an 11-0 record after defeating Navy, 94-87, in overtime last Saturday. The Lobos are averaging 88.1 points per game and are shooting .444 from the field, .399 from beyond the arc and .716 at the free throw line. New Mexico ranks fifth in country in turnovers per game (11.1) and turnovers forced (112). The Lobos are sixth in Division I with 174 made free throws.
• Senior guard Cherise Benyon leads the Lobos in scoring, averaging 17.9 points per game. The senior also ranks 20th in Divison I with 6.2 assists per contest. New Mexico's Tesha Buck is one of the country's top 3-point shooters, hitting 35 triples this season and averaging 15.8 points a game. Jaise Dunn has recorded a double-double in seven of 11 contests for the Lobos, while averaging 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
• New Mexico is under the direction of second-year head coach Mike Bradbury. Bradbury is 26-15 in his two seasons with the Lobos. He previously served as the head coach at Wright State (2011-16) and Morehead State (2008-10).
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
• OU is in the middle of a four-game stretch that is arguably the toughest slate that a team will face to close the month of December. After defeating No. 16/16 South Florida, OU will take on undefeated New Mexico (11-0) this Saturday. OU wraps up its non-conference schedule at No. 1/1 Connecticut on Dec. 19 before opening their Big 12 slate on Dec. 28 at home against No. 8/8 Texas.
ORTIZ MOVING UP THE CHARTS
• The transition from moving to off the ball from point guard seems to be paying off for senior Gabbi Ortiz. Ortiz is averaging a career-best 12.8 points a game, while shooting .425 from beyond the arc. The Racine, Wis., native ranks seventh in school history with 162 career triples and needs just three more treys to pass Whitney Hand (164, 2009-13) for sixth in the program's record book.
• Against South Florida, Ortiz had a career day by scoring 31 points on 9-of-14 shooting and knocking down a career-best eight 3-pointers. Ortiz's 31 points were also a career high, while her eight made treys are tied for the fourth-most in a single game by a Sooner in program history.
• Ortiz also leads the Big 12 in minutes played per game (38.1), free throw percentage (.952) and 3-pointers made per game (3.4).
• Oklahoma is 16-6 all-time against current members of the Mountain West Conference. The Lobos will be the second Mountain West team the Sooners have played this season. OU rolled past Colorado State, 78-46, on Nov. 21 in Fort Collins, Colo.
• Gabbi Ortiz's run of consecutive made free throws came to an end against South Florida. Ortiz's streak ended at 37, which ranks second all-time at OU, after missing her second attempt of the game at foul line against the Bulls. LaNeisha Caufield's streak of 38 consecutive free throws made during the 2001-02 season is the program record.
• The Sooners' victory over South Florida last Saturday gave OU its first win as unranked team over a ranked non-confernece opponent on its home floor in school history. It marked the first time the Sooners have defeated a ranked non-conference foe since 2013 when OU topped No. 25 Gonzaga inside Lloyd Noble Center.
• The Sooners' bench combined to play just 18 minutes against USF, the second lowest total in the Sherri Coale era.
• OU's seven turnovers against Florida were the second fewest in a single game during the Sherri Coale era. The Sooners also outscored Florida's bench, 48-0, marking the 16th time that OU has held an opponents' bench from scoring in a single game.
• Oklahoma’s non-conference schedule includes matchups against five NCAA Tournament teams from last season (Belmont, DePaul, Oregon, UConn and South Florida). Nine of the Sooners' 11 non-conference opponents made postseason appearances last year.
OU will wrap up its non-conference slate at the Women's Holiday Showcase on Tuesday against No. 1/1 Connecticut in Uncasville, Conn. The game will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena and be televised on CBS Sports Network.