Oklahoma’s Sharene Campbell missed a shot from the baseline, and Marist had the ball and a chance to tie the game before halftime. Aaron Ellenberg came up with a steal at halfcourt and went in for an easy layup as time expired. OU led 34-30 at halftime.
“It’s fun,” Ellenberg said of playing defense. “When you get to really anticipate and use your instincts and stuff, I think that helps out in these type of situations.”
The Sooners’ offense began a downward spiral in the second half as they were unable to knock down open shots.
But Oklahoma turned to its defense to regain control of the game. Ellenberg and Hand came up with back-to-back hustle plays that turned the tight contest into a double-digit lead.
“Well there seems like there are always moments that if you can grab them and bottle them, you can change the destiny of the game,” Coale said. “I thought Whitney’s save that Morgan (Hook) converted. And then Vegas (Ellenberg) followed that play by taking a charge at the other end. That really gave us that cushion, that ignition that we needed.”
O’Connor led the Red Foxes with 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Leanne Ockended added 10 points and six rebounds.
Ellenberg paced Oklahoma with 18 points and three steals. Hook chipped in with 16 points. Hand’s presence could be felt in all area’s of the game as she ended the contest with 12 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. It was her first double-double of the season.
“I don’t really think I’ve got to do this and I’ve got to do that,” Hand said. “You just take what you get and right now, I’m playing in a position where I’m getting a lot of rebounds. And I’ll take those stats.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @email@example.com