Oklahoma wants to run, but that means getting defensive rebounds.
The Sooners want to get to the free-throw line, but that necessitates hitting the free tosses they earn.
Failing in that, OU doesn’t want to hurt itself, but that means taking care of the ball.
Execute none of the above and it leads to what happened Wednesday night at Lloyd Noble Center, where UCLA proved stronger, tougher and better, claiming an 86-80 victory over the 11th-ranked Sooners.
“There’s no excuse for it,” senior guard and team captain Whitney Hand said. “We weren’t in the right state of mind, and that’s evident in how the game went.”
It was close because OU staged a near-comeback for the ages, turning a 69-51 game with 9:57 remaining into an 80-78 game with 54 seconds remaining when Sharane Campbell broke free for a layup.
But the Sooners never had the ball with a chance to tie the game. Jasmine Dixon made two free throws to put UCLA up 82-78, and Morgan Hook followed with a blown layup on the other end.
Hook hit a reverse layup with 21 seconds remaining to make it 83-80, but the Sooners didn’t score again.
“We felt like we were going to get there,” OU shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg said. “We started making some baskets and we started playing little tougher.”
“Tough” may have been the word of the night.
Led by Sapulpa High School product Alyssia Brewer, who pulled down 16 rebounds — including seven off the offensive glass, UCLA claimed a 56-34 board advantage. Equally stunning, OU only had two more defensive rebounds (26) than UCLA had offensive rebounds (24).
That led to another very telling stat. The Sooners hit 43.1 percent of their shots and the Bruins hit 43.8 percent. But UCLA took 73 shots to OU’s 58, which had everything to do with the Bruins’ rebounding advantage.
“I’m disappointed with our effort and our response to the physical play,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “If that’s the way they’re going to play, then we have to adjust to it and we have to fight back and be just as physical as they’re being. … You don’t beat anybody when you give up 24 offensive rebounds. It’s a number that’s just unheard of.”
OU might have made some of the difference up at the free-throw line but hit only 19 of 31.
Though the Sooners took reasonable care of the ball in the second half, 12 first-half turnovers contributed to a 37-36 deficit. Had OU committed half that many, it might have led by 10.
As it was, the Sooners were trailing at the break, despite a fantastic first half from Ellenberg. The junior finished with a game-high 24 points, 20 coming in the first 20 minutes, when she canned all six of her 3-point attempts.
Hand added 19 points and a team-high six rebounds for the Sooners. Sharane Campbell and Nicole Griffin both finished with 12 points.
Point guard Thea Lemberger led UCLA with 18 points, but it was the Bruins’ front-line forwards that did the Sooners in: Markel Walker with 16 points, Brewer with 15 and Dixon with 11.
“That was one of our three keys to the game,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. “To attack them inside.”
Of course, when that attack failed, the Bruins need not have worried. Another chance was only a rebound away.
Oklahoma wants to run, but that means getting defensive rebounds.
Verdigris’ Hanslovan commits to ORU
One of the biggest decisions of her upcoming senior year is finally behind Verdigris High School soccer standout Caitlyn Hanslovan.
The four-year letterwinner and three-time Class 4A state champion forward announced Tuesday that she will commit to playing NCAA Division I soccer at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
RSU's Loy earns third-straight Academic All American honor
Rogers State senior outfielder Katrina Loy was named to the Capital One Academic All-America College Division Softball Third Team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Area players earn All-Region baseball awards
The awards keep piling up for Verdigris High School graduate Blake Battenfield.
After being named to the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Large East team earlier this week, Battenfield and numerous other players from Rogers County earned OCA All-Region accolades.
Battenfield was joined by his teammate, Ryan Hurd, who was a senior outfielder/shortstop for the three-time Class 3A state champion Verdigris Cardinals.
Stanford's Appel prepares for MLB Draft a second time
As Mark Appel sat in the Stanford dugout and glanced out at sun-kissed Sunken Diamond this week, the star pitcher reminded himself just how much it meant to return for his final college season.
SEC's Slive focused on future after big changes
Mike Slive sprawls in a comfy arm chair, propping his feet on a coffee table between one massive tome on Winston Churchill and an even thicker "Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.''
Browns QB Weeden to help with Oklahoma tornado
Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden is heading home to help his cherished Oklahoma heal.
Weeden is returning to his home state this weekend to assist in any way he can in the aftermath of the deadly tornado that tore through Moore, Okla., killing 24 people and destroying thousands of homes in the Oklahoma City suburb earlier this week.
RSU's Reyes, Apolinar compete in NAIA Track/Field National Championships
Rogers State student-athletes Oscar Reyes and Maria Apolinar will compete in the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships which are set to take place in Marion, Ind., from May 23–25.
Wal-Mart FLW anglers head to Grand Lake
The Walmart FLW Tour on Grand Lake presented by Castrol will visit the Grove, Okla., area June 6-9 for the fifth event of its 18th season. Hosted by the Grand Lake Association, the tournament will feature a full field of the world’s best bass pros and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the Pro Division and up to $25,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.
OU, OSU, Tulsa join forces on 2013 Oklahoma Disaster Reliefs Shirts
The University of Oklahoma has partnered with Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa to utilize logos from all three institutions to develop the 2013 Oklahoma Disaster Relief Shirt. Net proceeds from the sale of the shirts will be donated directly to the United Way to aid disaster relief and recovery efforts across the state of Oklahoma.
Strong offseason raises bar for Tulsa Shock
Are the pieces finally falling in place for the Tulsa Shock?
Time will tell, but if the preseason prognostications of the league's general managers are any indication, Tulsa finally looks like a playoff contender. A survey found the Shock as the WNBA's most improved team.
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- Verdigris’ Hanslovan commits to ORU