NORMAN — Nicole Griffin had four seconds.
Four seconds from the start of the possession to get across the basketball court.
“If she's too tired to get there in four seconds, then someone else will,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said.
Griffin, who was voted by teammates as the Most Improved Player in the offseason, dedicated a serious amount of time working on getting the ball in a position to score. She tied it all together Thursday night to lead the Sooners 118-53 exhibition win against Oklahoma Christian at Lloyd Noble Center.
The team's junior center finished with 23 points. She went 8-for-9 from the field and 7-for-8 from the line. Griffin added three rebounds, one assist and one block.
Griffin sparked a worried team that was coming off a lackluster intrasquad scrimmage.
“This was like a breath of fresh air,” Griffin said about the team's play Thursday night before 3,077 fans.
While Griffin was the star of the starters, Coale praised the improvement she saw since the team's unbeaten exhibition series through Australia during the summer. Coale and guard Morgan Hook also loved what they saw from the freshmen.
“They don't quit,” Hook said.
During the second half, freshman Nicole Kornet tossed the ball blindly over her head to open Oklahoma arms after she was surrounded by defenders.
“They were going 90 miles an hour,” Hook said. “I could tell in their brains that they just wanted to get down the court as fast as they could, so we had to calm them down a bit.”
Freshman Maddie Manning tried to alley-oop the ball to Hook.
“We don't practice it in practice,” Hook said cautiously. “That's something we always wanted to do so we ... just ... tried it.”
Coale's eyes widened, and she slowly shook her head and half-smiled as Hook spoke.
The Sooners ended the game with 22 turnovers, but Coale said it was a by-product of the freshmen transitioning.
“That's them playing too fast,” Coale said. “I'm not worried. We'll live with those for now.”
Coale's team came in with some goals: walk away from the scrimmage with film to learn from and have fun.
Coale said the Sooners did both, and they executed the way she hoped on offense.
“We want to score in the first six seconds and if we can't, we want to out-execute people,” Coale said. “It's not, ‘Do you have a big (player) that's really mobile?' It's ‘Do you have a big that's willing to work hard enough to get in there in four seconds?'”
Coale found her big player willing to put the four seconds to the test in Nicole Griffin.