By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — It may not have been everything coach Sherri Coale was looking for Sunday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center, and still, coming a off a very disappointing loss a week earlier at UCLA, it was a big win over a good team.
The No. 18 Oklahoma women, despite giving up a bunch of offensive rebounds, not shooting their free throws particularly well (again), and getting another cold performance from All-American candidate Aaryn Ellenberg, still dispatched Creighton 80-52.
Though no match for the Sooners, the Blue Jays remain a team that returns four starters from last season’s NCAA tournament squad.
Sharane Campbell was the best Sooner on the floor, hitting 10 -of-14 shots on the way to 25 points and five rebounds.
Center Nicole Griffin was next with 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 7-of-10 foul shooting.
Senior point guard Morgan Hook was steady, finishing with nine points, five assists and four rebounds against a single turnover.
“There’s not much to say. I’m just going out and doing what I do best, getting and-ones,” Campbell said, referring to the old-fashioned natural three-point play. “I missed a couple free throws that I should have made but I need to (play like) this every game.”
The best of the rest of what OU did well was play defense. So, if some old deficiencies remain, Coale still had something to be extremely pleased about, especially after instructing her team to do what it failed to do at UCLA: don’t give up lay-ups and limit free throws.
“Our coaching staff got together (and asked) do we bluff and stay, and not let them get 3s? No, we don’t let them get lay-ups and we don’t send them to the free-throw line. That’s how we’re going to win championships,” Coale said. “I thought our guys were very disciplined to that effort.”
So disciplined, he Blue Jays hit 11 of 41 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, but only 4 of 30 from within it.
Additonally, Coale wasn’t sweating the rebounding numbers either, believing it was just one bad stretch that led to most of Creighton’s 15 offensive boards. Overall, the Sooners out rebounded the Jays 56 to 43.
Still, OU continues to struggle at the free-throw line, where it made 20 of 30 Sunday. Meanwhile, Ellenberg, who was averaging 21 points before the UCLA game, has scored just 24 in her last two games combined. She did, somehow, manage to lead both teams with 10 rebounds.
“Do I ever worried about Aaryn Ellenberg? No, she’ll be fine, she’ll make baskets,” Coale said. “But I’ll tell you, it’s a lot easier to win when she’s making them.”
Creighton was never in the game. OU led 10-0 early and pushed its lead to 21 points in the first half before hitting intermission on top 44-28. The second half was offensively sluggish compared to the first and still the Sooners added 12 more points to their margin.
Marissa Janning led the Blue Jays with 18 points, all from 3-point land where she canned 6 of 13. Creighton had little else going for it.
The Sooners believe they made progress.
“We know what we’ve got to do to become who we want to be,” Campbell said. And we’re far from satisfied. But I think this afternoon was definitely a step in the right direction. I feel like we grew together.”
Follow me @clayhorning
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