MORGANTOWN, W.V. — The No. 21 Oklahoma women played the awful game they had avoided all season long Saturday afternoon, falling at West Virginia 82-63.
After OU led by 11 points in the first half, the Mountaineers responded and the Sooners had few answers. Even late in the second half, as OU was running out of time, West Virginia was padding its lead with layups.
The Sooners (16-5, 6-3 Big 12) got 14 points and 16 rebounds from Joanna McFarland. Morgan Hook matched the 14, and Aaryn Ellenberg and Nicole Griffin both added 12.
Ellenberg, though, was not herself. OU’s leading scorer this season, she made her first three shots but only 2 of 14 the rest of the game four days after spraining her right ankle against TCU. Hook also struggled, shooting the same 5 of 17 from the floor as Ellenberg.
Christal Caldwell led West Virginia (13-8, 5-5) with 24 points.
Through the first 11 minutes, it looked like OU might capture the rarest of Big 12 Conference commodities: an easy victory away from home.
A jumper from point guard Morgan Hook put the Sooners up 22-11 8:54 before the half.
Yet while everything appeared rosy, a big blow had already been delivered when McFarland was hit with her second foul 10:19 before the half. Already she had scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Sooners lost most of their physical presence and started to get beat on the glass. Also, the Mountaineers heated up, going on a 19-1 run that wasn't interrupted until Hook came up with a layup — OU's first field goal in more than 7 minutes — 1:41 before the half.
West Virginia closed the half leading 34-27.
The Sooners threatened after the half, but only barely, twice making it a one-possession game — 36-33 and 39-36 — with the last time coming with 17:36 remaining.
The Mountaineers pushed the lead to 12 points. The Sooners brought it back to seven. Then McFarland picked up her fourth foul and sat from the 10:54 mark to the 7:48 mark. In that space of 3:06 on the clock, West Virginia outscored the Sooners 10-3 and led 62-48. The closest OU got the rest of the game was 11 points.
Ellenberg and Hook’s shooting woes proved contagious, as OU made just 34.9 percent (22 of 63) of its shots and only 23.1 percent (5 of 22) of its 3-point attempts. West Virginia made 42.7 percent (32 of 75) from the field and hit 5 of 17 from 3-point land.
An indictment of OU's board work, no West Virginia player was any closer than seven rebounds to McFarland's total, yet the Mountaineers outrebounded the Sooners 46-42.
Bria Holmes came off the West Virginia bench to score 17 points and grab nine rebounds. Ayana Dunning added 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Sooner bench of Jasmine Hartman, Nicole Kornet and Portia Durrett, that had played so well against TCU on Wednesday also struggled, combining to play 40 minutes, score five points and grab seven rebounds.
The Sooners are back on the conference road at 7 p.m. Wednesday when they tip off inside Kansas State's Bramlage Coliseum.
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