NORMAN — Aaryn Ellenberg answered a postgame question Thursday about her game-high 27 points in Oklahoma's 70-46 win over UC-Riverside at Lloyd Noble Center.
“It's about me taking smarter shots,” Ellenberg said. “Not trying to force it and do it all myself.”
Sooners coach Sherri Coale leaned toward Ellenberg and softly said, “Tell them which statistical category you're most proud of today.”
She paused for a few seconds, then remembered, “No turnovers.”
Ellenberg handled the ball with care Thursday, as opposed to the 10 turnovers she committed over her last two outings.
“Thank you; I was about to have to play Jeopardy music to get her to the right answer,” Coale joked.
The Sooners (9-2) have just one nonconference game left — Dec. 29's home game against Cal State Northridge — before Big 12 play begins; with a roster devastated by season-ending injuries, taking care of the basketball will be crucial if Oklahoma is to reach a 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament.
UC-Riverside (6-4) never led Thursday, but it pulled within four points of Oklahoma late in the first half.
The Sooners, though, went into halftime up 10 points, and increased their lead to as high as 30 midway through the second half.
Coale said her team was flat and making poor shot selections over a several-minutes stretch in the first half.
“It's a combination of offense and defense, but we called a set and got the ball inside and scored, and sort of stopped that train, the direction it was going and went a different way,” Coale said.
Thursday, Ellenberg passed Ashley Paris to move into 16th place on Oklahoma's career scoring list; she needs 18 more points to move up another spot.
She said limiting her turnovers is always something she focuses on, and that most of her problems come when she tries to do too much.
“I think it's probably a focal point all the time; being one of the people that has the ball the most, I shouldn't be turning it over that much,” Ellenberg said.
“I think I get rushed a lot. ... I think that's where most of mine come from.”
Tre'Shonti Nottingham led the Highlanders with 14 points and eight rebounds. Natasha Hadley added 12 points and six rebounds.