21 points from Nicole Griffin and a double-double from Sharane Campbell led Oklahoma to an 80-61 Bedlam win over Oklahoma State Sunday afternoon in the Lloyd Noble Center.
OU's Joanna McFarland (Photo courtesy OU Sports Information)
"We beat a really good basketball team today and I was proud of our guys' poise. At the start of the night we didn't shoot it very well, obviously, but we didn't let it affect our energy level,” said Oklahoma Coach Sherri Coale. “We didn't let it affect our confidence. We continued to defend and rebound. This team is growing. They're still getting better; every day they're getting better. Just a huge second half, and I'm so happy for Nicole [Griffin] to have the kind of performance she had today. On this stage, it was so appropriate, and I'm happy for her. And Sharane [Campbell] getting all the rebounds that she got. Just growth across the board, growth with our team. I'm just really proud of them."
The Sooners got double-doubles from sophomore guard Sharane Campbell (15 points, 12 rebounds) and senior forward Joanna McFarland (10 points, 15 rebounds).
Junior center Nicole Griffin led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg poured in 17 points. Junior guard Morgan Hook executed the offense with a game-high 10 assists.
"We mentioned that at halftime, as you might imagine, mentioning those rebounding numbers,” said Coale. “But as I've said repeatedly about Sharane, she is conscientious. That's the type of person she is. That's part of her character. And there's an element of her game that is not where it should be. Just like repeatedly working on her left hand, she's going to work at it until it becomes a strength. And that's something we've pointed out. Boy we miss Whitney , getting all those offensive rebounds from the perimeter. Who can do that? Well, she can do that. And she focused on it today. And it felt like she got more than four offensive boards, it really did. But overall, they have 12 rebounds. You know Jo's [McFarland] going to get 15. How awesome is that? To have a player on your team where you can go, 'I know she's going to get 15 boards.' What? I haven't felt like that since Courtney Paris was here. So that's a luxury. I'm not taking that for granted."
Oklahoma is 18-0 this season when recording a higher field goal percentage than its opponent. OU has won 15 of 17 games when it has held its opponent to 40 percent of lower field goal shooting. The win gave Oklahoma consecutive victories in February for the first time since 2009-10 season when the Sooners won against Oklahoma State, 77-66, on Feb. 6 and in overtime against Baylor, 62-60, on Feb. 10.
"Well, our team is still evolving, and I keep saying that to you guys that have to talk to me every day,” said Coale. “But Vegas not being present was really more than not making shots. She couldn't catch it; she couldn't dribble it; she couldn't pass it. And really, we didn't have her in any element there. And to just go ahead on, we say that a lot, just take care of our business with the next play and plod and grind and get the lead, I thought was significant. You know in a minute she's going to wake up and be a part of it, and certainly was. When I took her out and said, 'who plays like that and has 17 points?' When I grow up I want to be able to play like that. What in the world? But these guys, it's really an extension of what we've been through this year. Something happens and oh, we don't have her for a while? Well ok, we'll win this way. We don't have her? Oh, we'll go win this way. And that's good for everybody because Vegas isn't going to play like that very often."
Thursday is Oklahoma's annual Pack the Place Pink night, promoting awareness of women's cancers and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The Sooners host No. 25 Iowa State at 7 p.m.
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