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November 7, 2012

Playing faster, Oklahoma women make short work of Henderson State

NORMAN — On election Tuesday, it was a landslide at Lloyd Noble Center. Playing their second and last exhibition game, the Oklahoma women ran past Henderson (Ark.) State 98-33.

Early, the returns came in fast. Later, they came in faster. Throughout, the Sooners, attempting to make their new running game second nature, played very fast.

“You could tell in the first three to five minutes of the second half that what we talked about at halftime, (the players) were really trying to do,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “We got out in transition, we fed the post, we blocked out, our help defense was better, and recovery was better and more urgent.”

At their very best, the Sooners went on a 37-0 run from the end of the first half to the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Because OU didn’t get quite so many turnovers as in their first exhibition victory over Oklahoma Christian, and weren’t quite so accurate from 3-point land, they came short of the century mark.

Still, it was a good enough showing for the veterans, but a showcase for two of the newcomers: Portia Durrett and Maddie Manning.

“You don’t lose anything (when the reserves are) in the game,” team captain and senior guard Whitney Hand said. “In the past, maybe, the end of these kinds of games were just really ugly … You see Maddie and Portia and it’s just really cool, because it’s not about the score, it’s just about us getting better.”

Durrett is the junior college transfer forward, who’s bound to spend some of the season in the post due to the loss of Lyndsey Cloman and Kaylon Williams to injury. Manning is the 6-2 point guard freshman who appears born to run.

Durrett finished with a game-high 26 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Manning added 11 points, five assists and four steals. Frequently, it was Durrett beating everybody down court and Manning, leading the break and finding her for an easy basket.

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