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OU Women's Basketball: Sooners so-so in choppy victory over Central Arkansas

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OU V Central Arkansas Women's Basketball

Watched from behind by Sooner coach Jennie Baranczyk, Taylor Robertson drives down the court on Nov. 16 during the Sooners’ victory over Central Arkansas at Lloyd Noble Center. Friday, at the Battle 4 Atlantis against ninth-ranked Oregon, Robertson led the Sooners with 29 points.

They’re still unbeaten, the winners of all three of their games following Tuesday night’s 78-54 victory over Central Arkansas.

Nonetheless, headed into more difficult waters, away from the friendly, though cavernous confines of Lloyd Noble Center, the step the Oklahoma women took against the Sugar Bears was sideways at best.

The Sooners won big — if 24 points can be considered big against a team that fell 103-40 opening night at Kansas State — but weren’t even going to do that until turning a 15-point game, 63-48, into the final score by way of a 15-6 run over the final 3:57.

Fifth-year senior guard Ana Llanusa, who suffered a poor shooting night, 5 of 16, but still led her team with 16 points, thought the issue was just that: shooting.

“I just think we’re not going to make every shot, every time,” she said. “We’re not going to have every single game like we had [against] Arkansas State … I don’t think anything’s wrong.”

Llanusa was referencing OU’s home opener, played four days earlier, when it shot better than 60 percent for much of the game in what became a 101-89 victory over the Red Wolves.

Her coach saw it differently.

“We’re going to trust each other a little bit more as time goes on,” said Jennie Baranczyk, who’s brought a new offensive system into the program, one that relies on player spacing and reads. “I think we were a little hesitant tonight, in terms of our passing and setting each other up and even our cutting. We were like a little step short on some things.”

The Sooners finished with 19 turnovers, shooting 42.4 percent overall (25 of 59), 23.1 percent (6 of 26) from 3-point land and just 64.7 percent (22 of 34) from the free-throw line, though their getting there so many times was a bright spot.

Another bright spot was Skylar Vann.

The 5-foot-11 Deer Creek sophomore, who’s listed as both a guard and a forward, turned her 16 minutes into 12 point and a game-high 11 rebounds, carrying OU to a 40-26 advantage on the boards.

She made 5 of 10 shots, going 4 for 4 inside the 3-point arc.

“There’s so much more to her game,” Baranczyk said. “If we can help her go on to the next level, she can be a really special player.”

Madi Williams finished with 15 points, making 6 of 10 shots. Llanusa, though her shot was off, dished four assists and nabbed five steals.

Liz Scott added eight points inside, making all three of her shots and both her free throws.

OU led just 14-11 after a quarter, before pushing the advantage to 36-19 at the half.

The Sooners grabbed their first 20-point edge on a Kelbie Washington 3-pointer 39 seconds into the third quarter, but struggled to extend their lead from there, taking a 54-36 edge into the final 10 minutes.

Central Arkansas, which shot 40 percent (22 of 55) and 33.3 percent (2 of 6) from 3-point land, got 15 points from Lucy Ibeh, 11 from Randrea Wright and 10 from Hannah Langh.

The Sooners will have to be better to compete in their next contest, taking on No. 9 Oregon at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Clay Horning

405 366-3526

Follow me @clayhorning

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