NORMAN — The old cliché, “You win as a team, you lose as a team,” could not have been more true for the Oklahoma women Thursday night against No. 13 West Virginia.
Just about everybody who saw the floor for the Sooners did enough to propel OU to a huge victory over the Mountaineers, while also playing key roles in what became a heartbreaking 76-75 defeat, one that OU must get over by noon Sunday, the moment the Sooners tip off against Bedlam rival Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“We have to continue to fight and get better,” senior point guard Morgan Hook said after practice Friday.
There’s that, but there’s also taking advantage of the opportunities earned that could have made all the difference.
Though Hook, an 82.7 percent free-throw shooter coming into the game, missed two free throws with 1:31 remaining; and Sharane Campbell, an 87.5 percent free-throw shooter coming into the game, missed two free throws with 28.3 seconds remaining; and freshman reserve T’Ona Edwards missed a free throw, after making the first, with 0.3 seconds remaining that would have sent the game into overtime, it was another sequence that had coach Sherri Coale’s greatest attention.
“I thought the stretch that killed us was when we had a six-point lead and we missed a layup and they went down and scored and we got it back and missed another layup and then they went down and scored,” she said. “That was the exchange that got us. It gave them momentum and it gave them confidence and that’s when you have to bury teams.”
It wasn’t consecutive possessions as Coale described, but it likely seemed like it.
OU led 69-63 after two free throws from Nicole Griffin with 6:06 remaining.
West Virginia’s Bria Holmes missed a 3-pointer on the other end, but Griffin missed a layup on OU’s end.
With that chance blown, and after two Mountaineer free throws made it a four-point game, OU grabbed its last six-point lead with 4:46 remaining on two free throws from Sharane Campbell.
On the other end, Christal Caldwell made it a 3-point game with a 3-pointer. On OU’s end, Hook missed a driving layup.
The Sooners came up empty on their next two possessions before Asya Bussie converted a putback, simultaneously fouling out Griffin, and then hitting the awarded free throw to tie the game. Missed layups from Campbell and Nicole Kornet soon followed.
“We would have had really good results last night if we had made some chippies and made some free throws,” Coale said Friday. “We did all the hard stuff.”
The Sooners, in addition to the blown layups, made 26 of 38 free throws. The only night all season they missed more was a 34-of-49 performance against Gonzaga, the third game of the season.
It wasn’t all missed layups and missed free throws. Griffin almost completed a double-double, with 13 points and nine rebounds, but also turned it over four times. Campbell turned it over seven times against two assists. And Aaryn Ellenberg, after a rare big first half, 14 points, only added a single free throw and a single 3-pointer after the half.
The Sooners offered too much bad to go with so much good to close out the game. And Bedlam, in Stillwater, is just a day away.
Follow me @clayhorning
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