The Norman Transcript

February 24, 2013

Sooners roar back only to collapse as Cowgirls win Bedlam

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The Oklahoma women did the impossible Saturday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

They could not, however, do it twice and because they couldn’t, Bedlam’s second chapter was a Cowgirls’ operation.

OU’s 83-62 loss was its third in four games and with No. 1 Baylor coming up Monday night at Lloyd Noble Center, only a gargantuan upset will keep it from becoming four of five.

“We have to regroup,” coach Sherri Coale said.

They have plenty to regroup from.

Just maybe, the Sooners and Cowgirls played the most unlikely first half in the history of the sport.

At the game’s third media timeout, 11:53 before the half, OU trailed 23-4. Yet, before the half was over, after a 25-2 run, OU was on top 29-26. Not long after that it was behind again, 34-29, before going into the half down 34-33.

But if coming from so far down to lead, all in the same half and away from home, was some kind of miracle, it was the Sooners’ only one.

OU didn’t convert its second post-intermission field goal until 15:10 remained. It was a Joanna McFarland 3-pointer, and OSU still had an eight-point lead.

The Cowgirls stretched their edge to 51-38 before the Sooners made it 51-45. The score began heading back the other way and never stopped. There’s wasn’t even a hint of a late Sooner rally.

“We didn’t come out (of the half) with the fight we had in the first half,” OU point guard Morgan Hook said. “We just kind of came out there and thought it was going to fall into our hands.”

OU struggled to get going offensively in both halves, but the greater failing was defensive and on the glass.

Though the Cowgirls didn’t approach hitting 50 percent of their shots, finishing at 43.3 percent (29 of 67), the Sooners still allowed two runs, either one of which would win most games

OSU scored on 7 of 8 possessions to establish its huge early lead. In the second half, the Cowgirls took it from 53-45 to 79-57, hardly enduring an empty possession in a span of less than 7 minutes on the clock. If the Cowgirls missed a shot, they grabbed the rebound and put it back in the basket.

“Giving up offensive rebounds, that’s the statistic that tells the tale,” Coale said. “You can survive not shooting well if you’re not giving other teams extra possessions.”

The Sooners didn’t shoot well — 35.7 percent (20 of 56) — and they got outrebounded 49-36 and gave up 19 offensive rebounds.

Aaryn Ellenberg led OU with 22 of the quietest points she has scored all season. Nicole Griffin added 12 and six rebounds. Nicole Kornet, who came to life when OU struggled from its early deficit with a trio of 3-pointers, added 10 and five rebounds. Joanna McFarland finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Sooners wasted a game in which they committed a season-low-tying 10 turnovers.

OSU had points and rebounds to go around for everybody, with Kendra Suttles finishing with 19 and eight, Liz Donahoe with 18 and eight, Toni Young with 17 and 12 and Tiffany Bias with 17 and four.

“We competed how we prepared for this game.,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “I told (the players) that I never know which team is going to show up, but the good one showed up, and they were good today.”

Like the Cowgirls, especially lately, there has been two sides to Bedlam’s other half. And the good one did not show up for OU.

“It was all us,” Ellenberg said. “We could have controlled everything that happened there, but we didn’t.”

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning

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