NORMAN — For about 16 minutes, Oklahoma proved it could be one of the most daunting offensive forces in women’s college basketball this season. For the next 24, it proved proved how hard it is to maintain such excellence.
All told, it was plenty.
By an 89-70 count over a game and good Wichita State squad, the Sooners remain in line to host the Preseason WNIT championship game Nov. 17 at Lloyd Noble Center.
Getting there now only requires topping Gonzaga, also at Lloyd Noble Center, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Sharane Campbell led the Sooners with 24 points, almost all of them from inside the lane, where she made 6 of 9 shots inside the 3-point arc to go with a 9-for-9 afternoon at the free-throw line.
“They tell me to drive, so I drive,” she said. “I get fouled and shoot free throws a lot. I love free throws.”
Campbell was the the point of a very loaded spear.
When the Sooners were building their biggest lead, 43-19, aided by a 23-2 run that culminated 4:38 before the half, they were getting help from just about everybody but Aaryn Ellenberg, their All-American candidate shooting guard and returning leading scorer.
Point guard Morgan Hook, who finished with 15 points, was driving and finishing or driving and dishing.
Posts Nicole Griffin and Kaylon Williams were establishing position and receiving passes and finishing or grabbing offensive rebounds and finishing. Together, they scored 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.
“I think early on … both KayKay (Williams) and Nicole went down to the block and demanded it with their face, body and sometimes their mouth: ‘Throw it to me,’ ” Coale said. “Good things are going to happen (when they do that).”
While all that was going on, very little was happening for Ellenberg, who didn’t take her first shot until 12:41 remained in the first half and didn’t score her first points until she corralled her own 3-point miss and hit the putback from about 12 feet 9:09 before the half.
“They took away our 3-point shots,” Hook said. “It was really about getting it to Sharane to penetrate or getting it to the post players. They were really establishing their positions.”
OU played one awful stretch, the last 4:38 of the first half, a span that included only three points and eight turnovers.
Most of that happened while true freshman T’ona Edwards ran the point and Hook rested. Coale said she chose to stick with Edwards, hoping the experience would be a lesson.
The Shockers, who were led by Alex Harden’s 24 points and Kelsey Jacobs’ 15, made it a 46-34 contest at the half and pulled within 10 points one time — 57-48 — with 12:44 remaining.
Less than 4 minutes later, the Sooners were back on top 70-52.
Plenty of that had to do with Ellenberg, who found her stroke in time to heat up in the second half and finish with 14 points.
“Playing a team like Oklahoma, a team that is picked to win the Big 12 and 11th in the country, you cannot allow them to go on the runs we allowed them to go on,” Wichita State coach Jody Adams said.
Adams also said the Sooners “are talented and they have depth.”
That can make those runs hard to stop.
Follow me @clayhorning
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