Despite 21 points from Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma’s seven game winning streak come to an end thanks to a 76-63 loss to Vanderbilt. For the Sooners, it was their first game since fifth-year senior team co-captain Whitney Hand suffered a career-ending ACL injury. Morgan Hook, Aaryn Ellenberg, Sharane Campbell, Joanna McFarland and Nicole Griffin started for the Sooners.
"I am really proud of these two guys sitting on either side of me [Morgan Hook and Joanna McFarland],” said Oklahoma Coach Sherri Coale. “I thought they fought like crazy the entire 40 minutes. I though Vanderbilt played really well. They shot the ball extremely well from behind the three point line, some of them were open looks but some of them were contested. We just had a hard time overcoming that.”
Oklahoma's 20 turnovers were a season high. The Sooners had 15 turnover in the first half and turned the ball over on its first two possessions of the second half.
"It is just going to take a while to adjust to different roles,” said Coale. “Whit’s [Hand] involvement our offense is the guy who is always making the first cut that starts everything in motion. Now everyone is looking around to see who is going to make that cut and make that move. I felt like everyone was tentative. Nicole Griffin was tentative on the inside and Sharane [Camplbell] was tentative. Vegas [Aaryn Ellenberg] was trying to do too much and that resulted in five crazy turnover in the first half. That was the deal, we had 15 turnovers in the first half, and we calmed down after that."
Ellenberg passed 200 career 3-pointers made with her first 3-pointer in Sunday's game. Ellenberg was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and has 202 in her career. Ellenberg trails Oklahoma's career leader in the category, Erin Higgins (268, 2003-07), by 66. McFarland grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. McFarland has 42 rebounds in the past four games. Hook scored 10 points, reaching double-digit scoring for the seventh consecutive game, the longest such streak of her career.
"You just go into the gym every day and try to get better,” said Coale. “You pay attention to the things you can control like how hard do you run the cut how hard did you set this screen, are you running on defensive transition, are you communicating on matchups. There are lots of things that we can control that we did not do very well tonight."
The Sooners face UC-Riverside Tuesday and have just one other game before Big 12 play begins on Jan. 2.