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OU Women's Basketball: Baranczyk's new system suits Sooners against Red Wolves

  • 2 min to read
ArkansasState@OklahomaNovember 11, 2021

Oklahoma’s Skylar Vann goes to the basket against Arkansas State Friday at Lloyd Noble Center.

Now it’s only two games, yet something may be brewing with the Sooner women under the direction of first-year coach Jennie Baranczyk.

Following an impressive season-opening victory at South Dakota, Oklahoma nabbed a 101-89 victory over Arkansas State, most of it played before noon Friday, allowing thousands of young students from across the state to visit Lloyd Noble Center.

Perhaps the 10:30 a.m. tip led to a some sluggish sequences for the Sooners, who committed four turnovers over the first five minutes and struggled to score just before the half.

Yet, when they were good, they were very good and they were good much of the time.

Again, OU presented three strong scoring options, while offering the possibility of more.

Nobody reached 20, but Madi Williams and Ana Llanusa both finished with 18 points three days after both finished with 19 at South Dakota, while Taylor Robertson added 17, the same total she attained opening night.

“I loved the balance of our scoring. I loved the energy that our women had in playing together,” Baranczyk said. "I liked the [18] assists.”

What put the Sooners over the century mark was a wealth of other contributors, including freshman post Emma Svoboda, who added 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and Skylar Vann, who finished with 10 on the strength of two second-half top-of-the-arc 3-pointers.

Point guard Nevaeh Tot, off the bench, added eight points. Starting point guard Kelbie Washington added seven and five assists.

All of this in just the second game in Baranczyk’s offensive system, one based on spacing and reads the players make for themselves on the fly.

Some might have thought OU would come out sluggish and sloppy, adapting to a new system, but that hasn’t been the case.

“It looks easy because we have a lot of people that can play basketball and we’re all really talented in our own ways,” said Robertson, who made 5 of 10 3-point attempts and dished four assists. ”We fit really well together and the system is just just playing basketball and just being able to play with each other.”

The Sooners fouled too often, allowing the Red Foxes to net 27 points at the free-throw line. Despite that, the score remained misleading.

OU pushed a 49-40 halftime lead to 72-54 entering the third quarter and led by as many as 24 — 84-60 — with 6:25 remaining, before the Red Wolves closed with 29 fast points as the Sooners lost interest defensively.

The game was won in the first quarter, when OU pushed 10-10 tie to a 27-18 lead via a 17-8 run over the last 4:13 of the frame, netting those points over a span of just seven possessions, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Robertson, a 3, a 2 and two free throws from Llanusa and a pair of 2s from Williams.

The Red Wolves were led by Morgan Wallace's 23 points, which included 15 of 16 foul shooting. Lauryn Pendleton added 15. Trinitee Jackson and Jade Upshaw both finished with 14.

OU shot shooting 55.1 percent (38 of 69) and 32.1 percent (9 of 28) from 3-point land. Arkansas State shot 44.3 percent (27 of 61) and 40 percent (8 of 20) from 3-point land.

It was all good.

“I love the system,” Robertson said. “I love playing fast paced, getting up and down the floor in transition.

“It’s just really fun to be able to make reads and just play basketball the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Thus fair, it suits them.

Clay Horning

405 366-3526

Follow me @clayhorning

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