NORMAN, Okla. — With just a minute left in regulation, Sharane Campbell needed help getting back to the bench after getting tripped up during an already volatile Bedlam match. But the junior showed her tenacity by stepping back out on the court and snatching the steal and drawing the foul that bought the Sooner crowd to its feet.
At that point, OU stared down its Top 25 opponent and smelled the blood in the water.
Oklahoma women's basketball (14-8, 5-4 Big 12) rode the coat tails of Campbell's 28-point performance to knock off No. 11 Oklahoma State, 81-74, on Saturday in Norman. Campbell finished 8-of-13 and was perfect from the line with 11 made free throws.
"Sharane was engaged from the very beginning," Coale said. "From her communication on defense, her toughness, those big energy plays to taking charges and getting and-ones: she was just everywhere and when she's immersed, we're really good."
Campbell's last minute hustle sealed the Cowgirls' fate and put the finishing touches to help earn OU its fifth conference win of the season after falling to Kansas State last Wednesday. This Sooners' team--for all intensive goal purposes--has been disappointing at this point in the season, dropping wins to lesser teams and letting Big 12 opponents hang around with them late in games.
Coale addressed the issue, citing parity as the culprit, something that OSU coach Jim Littrell also talked about in his press conference when he was asked about how hard it has been this far to scrape through this year's league play.
"This year it happens to be everywhere and the parity is richer and more complete than it ever has been before," Coale said.
The Big 12's preseason favorite has been anything but after starting out 4-4 in league play prior to today's tip, however, a resounding win during Bedlam showed that Coale's team is far from throwing in the towels.
"I'm really proud of how we competed," Coale said. "We were gutsy and gritty and made good plays when we needed to make them. I think the charge that OSU made down the stretch and us being able to hold them off and us being able to execute was really important for our team."
And it was the seniors that also played a pivotal role in Saturday's victory.
With just over five minutes left in the game, Morgan Hook nailed the 3-pointer that posted a nine-point lead after the team was looking at a 3-point deficit at halftime.
Before that shot, OU was only 3-of-15 from behind the arc, a place this team led by 3-point surgeon Aaryn Ellenberg prides itself on commanding due to its roster availability. Ellenberg herself is chasing a national record in 3-pointers, but OSU's Tiffany Bias' stingy guarding limited Ellenberg's offensive role, managing to pull out 10 points in the win.
And early in the game it was the Cowgirls that owned the real estate behind the arc.
OSU was a quick 5-of-10 through the first minutes of the second half, putting a lot of pressure on OU's guards to extend their defensive stronghold. But OU made the adjustments to silence the Cowgirl streaks and the results were conducive on the final stat sheet: the Cowgirls were only able to get 20 percent of their 3's to fall in the final 20 minutes while OU shot almost 60 percent from the field at the other end of the court.
"When you get 21 offensive boards and score 74 points, you should be in a better situation than what we were," Jim Littrell said. "OU is one of the best offensive teams in this league and I knew we had to score 70 today."
Nicole Griffin also manufactured an impressive performance, earning a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Overall the three seniors combined for 31 points and 15 boards during the game.
Next up OU faces Baylor on Monday at 6 p.m. at home.