That was enough to counter 30 points and 8-of-12 3-point shooting from Mountaineer guard Taylor Palmer, the only player from either team to shoot well from distance on a night the Sooners canned a season-low two 3-pointers.
That, and taking advantage of West Virginia’s aggressiveness. The Mountaineers committed 32 fouls — Ayanna Dunning, Christal Caldwell and Palmer, all starters, had to leave early — and OU took advantage by making 31 of 39 free throws.
The Mountaineers’ biggest lead was nine points with 15:42 remaining. They led by eight with 10:55 to play. The Sooners’ biggest edge was six with 2:35 remaining.
Playing well throughout kept OU close, but saving their best for last, when the Mountaineers were shorthanded, put the Sooners over the top.
OU tied it for the first time of the second half — 54-54 — with 9:21 remaining, but promptly turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions, allowing West Virginia the lead. From there, OU scored 12 of the game’s next 16 points to lead 66-60.
Victory was still a tight fit and the Mountaineers had one opportunity to take the lead, trailing 68-67 with the ball.
West Virginia post Akilah Bethel received the ball in the post guarded by McFarland, playing with four fouls, as the shot clock wound down. The Sooner forward’s defense produced a shot that failed to draw iron.
“I knew I had four fouls. I just tried to stay in front of her,” McFarland said. “She shot it right into my arms and I got the rebound.”
Next, Morgan Hook was fouled going the other way, made both free throws and the Sooners were out of danger.
Clay HorningFollow me @email@example.com