NORMAN — Oklahoma desperately needed momentum to carry into the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament later this week.
The Sooners grabbed hold of some with Monday’s 87-32 Senior Day rout of Texas Tech in both teams’ regular-season finale.
“It’s definitely important to ride on some kind of momentum going into the tournament, but really it’s a whole new ballgame now,” said senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg, who led all scorers Monday with 18 points. “We just have to win three games and we’re right there.”
Oklahoma (18-13, 9-9 Big 12) will open Big 12 Tournament play Saturday at 8:30 p.m. against Texas.
Monday against Texas Tech, the Sooners trailed 6-3 after more than six minutes, during which the two teams combined to hit only 2 of 17 field-goal attempts.
Sophomore guard Nicole Kornet and Ellenberg hit back-to-back 3-pointers, though, beginning a 15-2 run from which the Red Raiders (6-23, 0-18 Big 12) could never recover.
“I think what you saw there was just a reflection of kids understanding what position we’re in,” OU coach Sherri Coale said of the rough start. “We came off of a really bad loss … I knew if we ever hit a couple, we’d go on and we’d forget how much was riding on tonight’s game, and we’d enjoy the opportunity to play with these four special seniors.”
Even after its atrocious shooting to begin the game, Oklahoma finished hitting 48.4 percent of its field-goal attempts, including 15-for-29 from beyond the 3-point line.
Coale said she’s confident her team’s resume will be enough to earn a 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, regardless of what happens at the Big 12 tourney this weekend.
“I think what we do in Oklahoma City this weekend will go a long way toward where we are,” Coale said.
OU split its two regular-season meetings with Texas. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma State 65-58 Monday night to claim the Big 12 Tournament’s No. 3 seed.