The epitaph of Oklahoma’s final game of the season, Sunday night’s 73-66 loss to Stanford, will be written two different ways.
One will lament OU’s first half and the other will laud Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s 38-point, 16-rebound performance. But there was one 4-minute second-half stretch that cannot be overlookd.
Stanford led 37-26 when Sooner point guard Danielle Robinson made a layup with 17:45 remaining and led 44-36 with 13:40 remaining after another Robinson layup.
It may sound like the two teams were trading baskets, but that wasn’t the case.
After Robinson scored, Ogwumike scored, only it was the Cardinal’s third shot at the basket. Then OU came up empty and Ogwumike hit another layup, only, again, it was the Cardinal’s third try at the basket. Then Amanda Thompson missed for OU and Jayne Appel hit one of two free throws for Stanford, only Appel got to the line after rebounding Kayla Pedersen’s miss.
That made it 42-26.
Then Robinson hit a jumper and Joslyn Tinkle missed. Then Nyeshia Stevenson hit one of two free throws, the Sooners got the rebound and Jasmine Hartman made a 3-pointer. Then Pedersen missed a 3, but Rosalyn Gold-Onwude grabbed the rebound and made a layup. Then Joanna McFarland hit a layup and it was 44-34.
The Cardinal got four cracks at its next posession but missed all four. Then Robinson hit her layup and it was 44-36.
If the Sooners had kept Stanford off the offensive glass during the stretch, it would have been a one-point game (37-36). Instead, it was the only moment OU got inside 10 points until 3:05 remained.
Stanford did not guard Jasmine Hartman on the perimeter. In every way but screaming it audibly, the Cardinal was begging her to shoot. She tried five from 3-point land and made one.
At the same time, Stanford was overplaying Nyeshia Stevenson, who did not hit a 3-pointer (and only attempted one) for the first time since OU beat UALR the second game of the NCAA Tournament and only the third time since OU’s first meeting with Notre Dame, way back on Nov. 28.
The Sooners were 1 of 11 from the field by the time of the first media timeout and made only two of their next nine to stand 3 of 20, or 15 percent, 12 minutes into the game. Strangely, by the end, OU had almost pulled even with Stanford, shooting 38.2 percent (26 of 68) to the Cardinal’s 39.1 percent (27 of 69).
OU’s last two games, against Kentucky and Stanford, included one lead change … Abi Olajuwon’s three first-half blocked shots made for a new (and career-ending) career high … The two teams combined on 16 turnovers. OU’s nine was its fourth lowest total of the season. Stanford’s six was the low this season for a Sooner opponent … OU more than doubled it’s first half out put (21) with 45 second half points, marking the second time that’s happened this season.
Clay Horning 366-3526 email@example.com