NORMAN — Say this much for the Oklahoma women. Staring their NCAA tournament destiny in the face, though it’s hardly been pretty, the Sooners haven’t blinked.
For the second straight game, OU prevailed on grit and guts far more than beauty and execution.
The 64-61 victory over Kansas that followed Saturday night at Lloyd Noble Center wasn’t for any time capsule. Also, OU will happily take it.
“I don’t know how well we played, but we played tough, with great intestinal fortitude and great purpose,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “We just weren’t going to be denied.”
The Sooners couldn’t shoot a lick, topping out at 34.4 percent (22 of 64). But they were good from the free-throw line, where they canned 20 of 24 attempts, amazing on the glass, owning a 48-25 rebound advantage and, for the second straight game, they had senior point guard Morgan Hook delivering in the clutch.
“I was just trying to get to the rim and she cut me off,” Hook said. “I knew we needed one more basket to kind of seal the deal there.”
Up 60-58 with the shot and game clock winding down, Hook drove left, yet had nobody open nor a path to the basket. Naturally, she stopped as much of her leftward momentum as she could and put up a 12-foot, right-handed jumper/floater hybrid of an attempt.
“That was a crazy, tough shot,” Coale said. “But you know what, she makes plays at the end of games.”
For good measure, after the Jayhawks missed on the other end, Hook added two more free throws to put OU up six points with 10 seconds remaining. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Kansas’ Markisha Hawkins ended the scoring.
With that finish, the Sooners (17-11, 8-7 Big 12) did what they had to do. They’re at No. 6 Baylor Monday, where pulling an the upset is a great idea, but not necessary. Easier games will follow at TCU and at home against Texas Tech.