NORMAN — Oklahoma suffered its first Big 12 defeat of the women's basketball season Tuesday, when Iowa State cruised to a 21-point victory on its home floor.
The Cyclones' nearly duplicated their margin of victory in another category — they grabbed 20 more rebounds than the Sooners.
“That took a little bit more life from us, as well as trailing the whole time,” junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg said of the loss, during which OU missed its first 10 shots and never led.
“Rebounding would've been that one key thing that could've helped us get over that hump.”
The Sooners (14-3 overall, 4-1 Big 12) return to action at 2 p.m. Saturday inside Lloyd Noble Center against archrival Texas (7-9, 0-5 Big 12).
Lots contributed to Tuesday's loss in Ames, but among the most crippling problems for Oklahoma were leading rebounder Joanna McFarland's foul trouble — she picked up her fourth personal foul within two minutes after halftime — and a thin bench.
“Not only were we not getting production from the bench, we didn't really get production from (McFarland) because she was in such early foul trouble,” said OU coach Sherri Coale.
“Even when she did play, it had to be tentatively or carefully. We missed that, obviously.”
McFarland, a senior who is averaging nearly eight points and nine rebounds this season, was held Tuesday to three and five, respectively.
“Sometimes when you get quick (fouls), you don't know how (officials) are calling the game,” McFarland said. “So you just come out like you normally play. Either they're not calling anything or they're calling everything. You just don't know.
“That does lead to frustration. When the game's not going your way, too, it leads to more frustration and more fouling.”
The larger problem looming over this Oklahoma team, though, is its bench; OU's well-documented injury problems have left it with inexperienced reserves who have struggled to produce consistently.
In five conference games, OU's three reserves who have played — senior Jasmine Hartman, junior Portia Durrett and freshman Nicole Kornet — are averaging a combined 29.9 minutes, 2.8 points and 3.6 rebounds.
“We need production,” Coale said of her reserves. “We need efficiency. ... We just need more consistency coming off the bench.”
Hartman sat out the entire season last year with a torn ACL, and Durrett and Kornet are first-year Sooners.
“At this time of year, you don't get the maximum reps which make those things second nature, because you're trying to prepare for all these opponents,” Coale said. “There becomes a period there where everything is pretty gray and murky for guys that aren't getting a whole lot of reps.
“They just have to play through that. There's light at the end of the tunnel. It'll get better in a couple weeks but it's hard right now.”