Norman, OK — Oklahoma women’s basketball had finals exams this week, but that wasn’t the only test they had to pass. A couple of weeks ago, head coach Sherri Coale lit into her team, and questioned their leadership after a bad loss.
Well, let’s just say, that the Sooners heard her message loud and clear, as they have responded with consecutive wins, including their most impressive to date, a 105-63 victory over the formerly undefeated New Mexico Lobos (11-1).
Senior Gabbi Ortiz drained seven three-pointers while scoring 25 points, and freshman Ana Llanusa led all scorers with a career-high 27 points for the Sooners (5-5). Perhaps Sherri Coale’s squad found the momentum needed heading into Tuesday’s matchup against the number one team in the country, the Connecticut Huskies.
New Mexico traveled to Lloyd Noble Center in Norman without star player Jaise Dunn, who had recorded a double-double in seven of 11 games this season. Dunn averaged 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, and the Lobos couldn’t find their way without their leader.
New Mexico turned the ball over 16 times in the first half alone, and with the Sooners shooting 50 percent from the field after the second quarter and leading by 31 points at half-time, the Lobos couldn’t find their rhythm.
Redshirt junior Gileysa Penzo made her mark silently as she distributed 11 assists for the Sooners (a career-high), while helping Vionese Pierre-Louis find her 16 points. Pierre-Louis also added 13 rebounds to her stat line, collecting her fourth double-double of the season. Maddie Manning scored in double figures also, contributing 14 points to the Sooner win.
Mandy Simpson snagged 12 rebounds in just 21 minutes of play, and Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale said she saw a lot of really good things from her team.
“I was pleased with our energy,” Coale said. “I thought our execution early on was good.”
That early execution gave the Sooners a 28-12 lead after the first quarter with Manning, Llanusa, and Ortiz all scoring behind the arc during the first 10 minutes of play.
New Mexico could not keep up with Oklahoma’s perimeter game, and the Sooners ended the night with 15 made three-pointers. Llanusa was named player of the game, and she credited the team’s performance to their work in practice.
“We went with the game plan,” Llanusa said. “We’ve worked harder than ever just staying in the gym getting extra shots up, working on our weaknesses and so we’ve been in the gym a lot and it’s showed.”
All players who saw minutes for Oklahoma scored and grabbed at least one rebound.
Alex Lapeyrolerie led the way offensively for New Mexico with 18 points and seven rebounds. The Lobos’ leading scorer this season, Cherise Beynon, added six assists and was held to five points.
Oklahoma led by 52 points with 18 seconds left in the third quarter and New Mexico didn’t lead the entire game.
Even though in the fourth stanza the Lobos outscored the Sooners bench — who played the majority of the last frame for Oklahoma — their 23 points to the home team’s 13 wasn’t enough to do any damage to the damage that was already done.
Oklahoma heads into its final nonconference game of the season at the Women’s Holiday Showcase taking on No. 1 Connecticut.
“We’re excited it’s going to be a great experience,” Llanusa said. “And we’re just going to carry all of that energy over to Connecticut and just play our hardest.”
New Mexico moves on to face Lamar at home on Thursday.
YIKES! New Mexico WAS 11-0 AND THEN Oklahoma DROPPED 105 on them -- beating them by 42!!!Posted by Swish Appeal on Saturday, December 16, 2017