NORMAN — Nicole Griffin picked a good time to have the game of her Sooner career. Every bit of the junior post’s career-high 19 points were needed as OU crept past Arkansas 73-70 Friday night in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown at Honolulu’s Stan Sheriff Center.
Griffin was 8 for 11 from the field to lead and a perfect 5 for 5 in the second half. Arkansas’ Keira Peak led all scorers with 30 points.
Peak hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer with 6:20 to play to tie the game at 54-all. Morgan Hook answered with a 3-pointer before the Razorbacks missed five of their next seven field goal tries.
The 13th-ranked Sooners improved to 3-1 on the season with the win while handing the Razorbacks (3-1) their first loss of the season.
Arkansas had built an early lead but missed Peak for some of the first half due to foul trouble. Both Peak and Sarah Watkins eventually fouled out of the game for Arkansas.
The Sooners led 26-19 at the half after a 15-0 scoring run during Peak’s absence.
The Sooners’ top scorer Aaryn Ellenberg also got into early foul trouble and finished the game with just one point. Both teams struggled from the perimeter. The Sooners shot 3 of 18 from beyond the arc compared to 5 of 28 from the Razorbacks.
Freshman Maddie Manning made her first start of the season and went 4 for 5 from the field ended up with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Whitney Hand matched a team-high nine rebounds to go along with 14 points. Hook finished with 14 points and had five assists against six turnovers.
The Sooners’ bench outscored Arkansas 15-11. That effort was led by Joanna McFarland who had nine points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
Up next in the Showdown, Oklahoma will play Oregon at 6 tonight in Honolulu.