STILLWATER — Oklahoma women’s coach Sherri Coale calls them chippies. They are the point-blank shots that must go in the basket and the Sooners missed a bushel of them in a one-point loss to West Virginia last Thursday.
Sunday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena, OU center Nicole Griffin had one of those with seconds remaining in the first half, her team trailing by six points.
She missed, the ball went the other way, and Oklahoma State scored to end the half.
Like that four-point swing defined the rest of the game, the 12th-ranked Cowgirls began the second half getting points on 10 of 11 possessions.
Officially, Bedlam will go down as a split decision, each team winning in its own gym. Still, Sunday’s 73-57 Cowgirl victory couldn’t have made it more clear where the two programs stand this season.
OU (15-11, 6-7 Big 12) has to be justifiably concerned it might miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in 15 seasons. OSU (20-4, 9-4), meanwhile, can work on earning the highest possible seed.
Both teams have five games remaining before the Big 12 tournament begins in Oklahoma City.
Coale didn’t mince words afterward. For her, what happened to begin the
second half was only the flip side of what happened in the first, when OSU jumped out to an 11-2 lead.
“That (lack of) effort and immersion in the moment is absolutely unacceptable for a team that wears Oklahoma on its jersey,” she said. “Unacceptable.”
Also, Coale lamented, it was only the continuation of a season-long pattern.
“All year, we play well one game,” she said, “lousy the next.”
Sunday, no Sooner starter scored more than eight points, and because Coale was searching for ways to get things going, no starter played more than point guard Morgan Hook’s 28 minutes.
The only player to do much offensively was Nicole Kornet, who led the Sooners off the bench with 14 points that included 4 of 8 3-point shooting.
Kornet’s 3-pointer with 2:28 remaining in the first half earned OU its only post-tip tie of the game: 27-27. Also, the points were OU’s last of the half.
“Just screw everything and just play your game,” Kornet said was her approach. “I felt that’s what I did. I just played … So I made some shots, but there’s still so much more than needs to be done.”
OU’s three leading scorers this season — shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg, forward Sharane Campbell and center Nicole Griffin — combined for 19 points on 6-of-22 shooting, 23 points off their collective averages.
“We didn’t play,” Griffin said. “We didn’t come out ready to play.”
The Cowgirls outrebounded the Sooners 48-31, grabbed 17 offensive boards and were clearly the more energized team.
“We tell our players all the time that you can win a lot of games in the first five minutes of the game,” OU coach Jim Littell said, “or the first five minutes of the second half. I thought we came out, executed well, played extremely hard and got back to Cowgirls basketball a little bit.”
Before even four minutes had elapsed in the second half, the Cowgirls had pushed their lead out to 20 points. With a layup from Ellenberg with 7:51 remaining, OU was within 12 — 62-50 — but OSU responded with an 11-3 run to make it 73-53 with 2:47 to play.
Liz Donahoe led OSU with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Point guard Tiffany Bias, shooting guard Brittney Martin and forward Kendra Suttles combined to score 35 points and grab 21 rebounds.
“It’s Bedlam, so every team is going to fight,” Bias said.
Or, Sunday, one of them.
Follow me @clayhorning
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.