Big 12 Basketball

Three Thoughts on Oklahoma’s 97-93 win over Oklahoma State

Madi Williams of Oklahoma women's basketball - 2

The Oklahoma Sooners beat the Oklahoma State Cowgirls, 97-93, in a Big 12 women’s basketball matchup at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., on Saturday. Here are three thoughts on the game.

No. 15 Oklahoma (16-2, 6-1 in Big 12) was down by as many as 10 points but rallied in the fourth quarter to take the lead and claim the win, outscoring the Cowgirls, 29-21, in the final 10 minutes.

Oklahoma State (13-6, 3-4) had to overcome an incredible amount of foul trouble but remained in control of the game until the final minutes.  

 

How Oklahoma Won

By hanging in there. If one didn’t watch the game and looked at just the box score, you would see a game that was pretty even. But the Cowgirls had the Sooners on the ropes for a good portion of the game — until Madi Williams and Skylar Vann stepped in.

Vann gave the Sooners the lead for good with a 3-pointer with about four minutes left, 86-84. She eventually fouled out with nine points. After that, Williams padded the lead to four with a layup with 2:50 left to make it 88-84. Williams eventually ended up with 26 points and consistently overcame whatever OSU threw at her on defense.

Taylor Robertson — who was not shooting well for most of the game — hit a couple of big 3-pointers down the stretch — the last of which gave OU an eight-point lead. She also made some timely free throws in the final minute, finishing with 15 points. The nation’s leading free throw shooter wasn’t going to miss a couple of game-icers with three seconds left. And now she’s three 3-pointer away from breaking the national record.

Ana Llanusa scored 17 and Liz Scott added 11 as Oklahoma should still be the Big 12’s highest-ranked team when the new AP Top 25 comes out on Monday. But the Sooners had to work for every bit of it.

 

How Oklahoma State Lost

I mean, one little play here or there, right? That’s what happens in games like these. Oklahoma State played well nearly the entire game but was unable to keep the Sooners down defensively in the fourth quarter. But the Cowgirls matched the Sooners nearly shot for shot, despite having four starters in foul trouble nearly the entire game.

If anything, the Cowgirls took too many 3-pointers down the stretch of a close game. They shot nearly 40 percent from there for the game. But in the fourth quarter the Cowgirls were 1-for-9, a clip that allowed the Sooners to slowly, but surely, get back in the game.

Coach Jacie Hoyt managed the foul trouble well, using a combination of soft man and match-up zone without her starters on the floor. Once they returned, she went back to stifling man-to-man defense that worked for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Because of the foul trouble, other players stepped up. Anna Gret Asi led with 26 points off the bench. Three starters managed double figures — Lexy Keys with 14, Terryn Milton with 12 and Claire Chastain with 11. Without Naomie Alnatas to run the point for much of the game, it fell to Milton and Chastain, who had seven combined assists. Lior Garzon, normally an accurate 3-point shooter, was 2-for-12 from distance.

It’s hard to fault anything Oklahoma State did on Saturday. Same for Oklahoma. It was quite possibly one of the best played games in the conference to this point in the season.

 

More on That OSU Bench

Oklahoma State had four players with two fouls with 6:21 left in the second quarter — Naomie Alnatas, Taylen Collins, Claire Chastain and Kassidy De Lapp. All four sat for more of the second half of the quarter. At the time Chastain picked up her second, the Sooners were down 29-28 and took a one-point lead on a pair of free throws.

From there? Oklahoma State went on a 19-12 to end the quarter, punctuating it with back-to-back 3-pointers. The first, a baseliner by Ana Gret Asi, capped a 13-point half off the bench. The second, by Terryn Milton, was a running 3-pointer from the OU logo as time expired to give her nine points.

The Cowgirls had 29 bench points in the first half to OU’s 13.

Then, in the third quarter, OSU had to do it again. With 6:33 left in the third four starters — Alnatas, Collins, Chastain and Milton — had three fouls and had to sit. OSU was up 54-51 at the time.

OSU held onto the lead entering the fourth, 72-68. By game’s end the Cowgirls had a 47-20 edge in bench points.

Oklahoma is one of the deepest teams in the Big 12. But Oklahoma State is proving that its cultivating depth that can help it overcome the sort of foul trouble it dealt with on Saturday night.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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