By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — It wasn’t revenge Oklahoma wanted against Iowa State on Thursday night at Lloyd Noble Center, but redemption.
Big losers at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 15, the Sooners didn’t care for the way they shot the ball, rebounded or their (lack of) toughness. With the Cyclones in their own gym, it was a chance to make things right.
Until it all went wrong.
OU committed 18 turnovers, watched its leading scorer suffer through a 4-of-15 shooting night from the field, missed a slew of shots within a few feet of the basket and received absolutely no help from the officials.
No. 24 Iowa State (18-5, 9-4 Big 12) claimed a 72-68 victory and stole the conference’s second position from No. 22 OU (18-6, 8-4) along the way.
“When you go on the road, you have to be in attack mode and when we’ve lost a couple games, we’ve been a little timid,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “I thought tonight we got off the bounce and made some good decisions.”
That’s one side of the story.
Both teams struggled to sustain any momentum most of the game. An early shootout — OU led 20-18 8:54 before the half — it was only 27-27 at the half.
Two free throws from Iowa State’s Hallie Christofferson made it 49-49 with 8:18 remaining. Then everything that could go wrong for OU did and most of it involved whistles.
Iowa State scored on nine straight possessions, hitting 9 of 10 free throws over the stretch. During the same span, Sooner forward Joanna McFarland picked up her fourth foul with 6:20 remaining and her fifth only 12 seconds later trying to take a charge from Christofferson.
McFarland had position, but one foot in the semi-circle, no-charge zone under the basket. It was harsh irony considering McFarland’s third foul, with 11:26 remaining, was a charge of her own, when Iowa State’s Chelsea Poppens had both feet in the same arc.
When the stretch concluded, the Cyclones led 65-57. The Sooners were never closer than the final score.
In her postgame media session, OU coach Sherri Coale chose her words carefully, clearly making points about the officiating without taking issue in any way that should have repercussions with the conference.
“We shot better from 2 than they did. We shot better from 3 than they did. We shot better from the free-throw line than they did. We had more rebounds than they did. We had more assists than they did and we lost,” she said. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
Iowa State attempted 34 free throws and hit 27. OU attempted 14 and hit 12. The 25-point discrepancy was much too much to overcome.
By the time it was over, four different Sooners — McFarland, Aaryn Ellenberg, Morgan Hook and Sharane Campbell — had fouled out, a first since Coale took over the program in 1996.
After committing only eight first-half fouls, OU was whistled for 18 post-intermission. The 26 total is the fourth-most ever whistled against a Sooner women’s team.
Asserted Coale, OU was left with few options.
“We tried to run our shooters off screens and got called for illegal screens, so that didn’t work,” she said. “We tried to throw it into the post and got called for illegal post-ups, so we couldn’t do that any more. We were a little bit handcuffed … Shots are hard to come by when you can’t create them for one another.”
Nicole Griffin, Campbell and Ellenberg all finished with 14 points, though the first two both hit 5 of 10 from the floor while Ellenberg canned just 5 of 16.
Christofferson led the Cyclones with 27 points and 11 rebounds. She hit 11 of 14 free throws, matching OU’s charity chances all by herself.
Morgan Hook added 13 points and six assists for OU. McFarland, despite foul trouble, led everybody with 11 rebounds.
A tough night for the home team, OU must wait until Sunday to do something about it away from home when it tips off at 1:30 p.m. inside Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse.
Follow me @clayhorning
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