POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Twelve games into their season, with a single game remaining before heading into conference play, the 20th-ranked Oklahoma women have succeeded in securing almost nothing.
After a road loss at unranked UCLA — now 5-6 after a Saturday loss at Auburn — and home-court losses to both No. 2 Duke and No. 7 Louisville, the Sooners’ last chance to build something formidable in the non-conference portion of their schedule lied in winning four straight games against lesser opponents on the way to their Jan. 2 conference opener at Texas Tech.
Wins over Maryland-Eastern Shore and Fairfield, by a combined 87 points, appeared to have OU on its way. But it all came crashing down in a 76-69 loss at Marist Saturday night.
As occurred at UCLA Nov. 24, leading scorer and preseason All-Big 12 selection Aaryn Ellenberg, did not deliver anything remotely close to her best game.
In postgame comments on the Sooner radio broadcast, coach Sherri Coale referred to Ellenberg as OU’s “best player,” yet in the context of it being hard to win when you’re best player struggles so much.
Ellenberg continued a near season-long shooting slump, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-19 shooting that included 1-of-8 accuracy beyond the 3-point arc.
The lone big bright spot for OU was Sharane Campbell, who finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Point guard Morgan Hook was limited by first-half foul trouble before fouling out after 29 minutes of court time. She finished with nine points and five assists. In the post, Nicole Griffin added 10 points and four rebounds.
Marist hit the Sooners in every direction, getting 25 points from guard Sydney Coffey, 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from point guard Casey Dulin, 17 points from Leanne Ockenden and 15 from Emma O’Connor.
It really came down to shooting for OU, which owned a 40-30 rebounding advantage and, with 13 turnovers, committed five fewer than Marist.
The Red Foxes hit 47.3 percent (26 of 55) from the field and 38.9 percent (7 of 18) from 3-point land. OU shot 39.7 percent (25 of 63) and 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from 3-point land.
OU took its last lead, 58-57, on a single free throw from Nicole Kornet with 8:49 remaining.
The game was tied at 60 with 7:54 remaining, at 62 with 6 minutes remaining, and at 66 with 2:38 remaining, when Gioya Carter added two free throws. No point the Sooners scored after that moment brought them any closer than four points.
The Sooners are off until 3 p.m. a week from today when Samford visits Lloyd Noble Center.
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