Oklahoma forces 23 turnovers and sweeps season series vs. Texas for fifth time
NORMAN, Okla. --
Behind a raucous home crowd clad in white "Cheer Like a Champion" shirts and a game-high 22 points from junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg, the 16th-ranked Oklahoma women's basketball team defeated Texas, 69-56, Saturday afternoon at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Ellenberg helped the Sooners stay afloat in the first 20 minutes, and then the Sooners continued to pour it on with their leading scorer in foul trouble in the second half to pull away from the Longhorns.
The Sooners stifled Texas' frontcourt and entered halftime with a 33-27 edge and came out of the locker room with a 12-5 run to gain a double-digit lead that would not be relinquished.
"I thought our guys did a really good job of knowing who they were guarding and what they wanted to do," OU head coach Sherri Coale said. "Nicole Griffin and Jo [McFarland] both deserve a lot of credit for keeping their post players as far away from the basket as they did."
Sophomore guard Sharane Campbell's 3-pointer with 11:08 remaining gave Oklahoma a 56-37 lead, its largest of the game. Texas wouldn't get closer until the final minutes of the game.
McFarland tallied 15 points for the Sooners, while Nicole Griffin recorded 10 and Campbell contributed nine. Junior guard Morgan Hook paced the offense with a game-high nine assists led OU in rebounds with seven.
While the second half was anything but close, the first half was a completely different story.
After the Sooners scored the game's first six points and jumped out to a 14-4 lead, Texas got back into the game with an 11-2 run of its own. McFarland stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws before Ellenberg scored OU's next 10 points as part of a 12-4 response to give the Sooners a 28-19 advantage.
"It was all about tempo," Coale said. "The first half we had eight opportunities to run. Eight. Everything else was a change of possession on a deadball, ball out of bounds, turnover, foul. There was some stoppage in play, so we only had eight opportunities to run. The start of the second half we have some opportunities and we found our rhythm and gained our confidence and sort of settled in."
OU was up 48-35 with 14 minutes to play when Ellenberg received her fourth personal foul. Instead of losing rhythm, the Sooners built their lead to a 19-point advantage and coasted the final quarter of the game.
Oklahoma's stingy defense forced 23 Longhorn turnovers, tied for the second-most its forced this season.
"Obviously we had to have some sort of resolve, " Ellenberg said. "Getting beat at Iowa State and getting killed on the boards as well was not the ideal situation. We really had to make a statement for ourselves and for the other teams watching."
The victory aided the Sooners' bounceback from an 82-61 loss at Iowa State on Tuesday, it's first in Big 12 play.
Additionally, the Sooners swept the regular-season series with Texas for the fifth time in the Big 12 era.
The Sooners return to the court Saturday, Jan. 26, at top-ranked Baylor. The game will broadcast nationally on FSN at 11 a.m. CT.