By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
DALLAS — One game after the Oklahoma women turned in the most improbable and dramatic comeback victory in the Big 12 tournament’s history, the Sooners proved how futile falling behind by 19 points at the half tends to be as well as how fragile a team they can still be.
A day later, Sunday, against Iowa State, back inside American Airlines Center, there wasn’t even the hint of a rally as the Cyclones cruised by the Sooners 79-60.
OU couldn’t stop Iowa State defensively, allowing 46 percent shooting (29 of 63) shooting; couldn’t mount anything offensively, shooting 35.5 percent (22 of 62) from the field and 29.2 percent (7 of 24) from 3-point land; couldn’t stand up to the Cyclones on the boards, getting outrebounded 49-28; and couldn’t get to the free-throw line, making 9 of 12 less than 24 hours after earning 33 attempts against West Virginia.
OU coach Sherri Coale gave most of the credit to the Cyclones.
“How they’re not ranked,” she said, “I have no idea.”
The Cyclones did
something on Sunday that West Virginia did not do Saturday: play a 40-minute game.
After trailing 41-22 at the half, the Sooners never got any closer than 18 in the second half.
“They manhandled us on the inside, had great poise on the perimeter, knocked down open looks. We didn’t do the same,” Coale said. “We didn’t come with the same aggression … They deserved to win the game and have a chance to play in the championship.”
Anna Prins, the Cyclone center with Brittney Griner-like size and a deft touch from the outside, finished with 32 points on 11 of 20 shooting and nine rebounds.
Chelsea Poppens, smaller than Prins yet more physical, added 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Hailey Christofferson added 10 and nine boards.
They dominated OU early on both sides of the court, scoring on one end and clearing the glass on the other.
“Their post players are really strong,” said OU forward Joanna McFarland, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. “They have a good mind about position. If you let them get deep, they’re going to score.”
OU could have used some help from leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg, but the junior shooting guard finished 3 of 16 from the floor and scored 11 points. Point guard Morgan Hook matched McFarland’s dozen to co-lead the Sooners.
Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly likes the way his team’s playing heading into today’s championship game.
“We were a great team in a great environment and we’re excited to play (today),” he said.
It was the Cyclones’ third victory this season over the Sooners and Coale thought the performance might be unprecedented.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen them play any better,” she said.
It got away from OU fast.
The Sooners made 4 of 5 shots to begin the game and lead 10-7 16:22 before the half, but didn’t score again until 8:27 remained when an Ellenberg 3-pointer made it 24-13.
Iowa State followed with a 13-4 run (part of a bigger 30-7 run) to claim its first 20-point lead.
“We just went bone dry,” Coale said. “Just like last night.”
This time, OU wasn’t coming back.
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