NORMAN — Sunday marked the first of four games the Oklahoma women hope to use to build toward the conference season, which begins Jan. 2 at Texas Tech.
In terms of offering resistance, Maryland-Eastern Shore did the Sooners few favors. It terms of blowing a team off the court, getting everybody involved and building confidence, the Sooners likely did itself a few favors.
OU prevailed 105-46.
All 12 able-bodied and eligible Sooners got into the scorebook. As a team OU shot exactly 50 percent (35 of 70) and outrebounded the Monarchs 59-37, while holding them to 22.2 percent (15 of 69) field accuracy.
“I liked our energy. I liked how we played together and shared the basketball,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “I thought we got important minutes from a lot of guys … I think it’s a game that we used to get better.”
Also nice, perhaps, 103 of OU’s points were not credited to Aaryn Ellenberg.
The senior shooting guard and season leading scorer left early with a knee strain, but her teammates, particularly those coming off the bench, made up for her absence and more.
Nicole Kornet turned in a monster game, finishing 8 of 11 from the floor, 3 of 6 from 3-point land and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line to finish with a career-high 26 points to go with a career-high six steals and a career-high matching seven rebounds.
“It felt food, that’s for sure,” said Kornet, who made all eight of her 2-point tries. “Lately I’ve been struggling around the 3-point line and just shooting in general. I think, (today), I just drove it and was aggressive and that was what sparked my shooting.”
Reserve post Kaylon Williams added 14 points in 14 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting.
Gioya Carter, with 11 points, was the only starter in double figures, though point guard Morgan Hook was plenty good, finishing with six points, five rebounds and eight assists without a turnover, all in just 17 minutes of court time.
“When they get to perform like we know they can, it’s really fun,” Coale said. “I think it’s contagious. The bench did a great job. The guys who started the game didn’t play very many minutes and came out and did a great job of keeping everybody involved.”
The Sooners took their first 10-point lead 14:44 before the half, their first 20-point lead 11:32 before the half, their first 30-point lead 7:37 before the half and their first 40-point lead 3:48 before the half.
They hit their biggest lead twice — 62 points — at 99-37 with 4:09 remaining and 104-42 with 1:02 remaining.
Alexis Udoji finished with 13 points and seven rebounds for the Monarchs, who shot 15.2 percent (5 of 33) in the first half and 21.7 percent (15 of 69) for the game.
Despite all the good things OU managed, what the victory may not become clear until the next two games are played.
Sunday began a stretch of three games in six days for the Sooners, who meet Fairfield Wednesday and Marist Saturday, both on the road.
OU’s trying to put games together as the conference season approaches and Sunday, at least, was a fine start.
“The key,” said Coale, “is can we continue to do that.”
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