NORMAN — Oklahoma women's basketball went on a 19-0 run to start the game, and the Sooners overwhelmed Saint Louis on the defensive side during a 68-33 convincing victory on Sunday at Lloyd Noble Center.
“I thought we shot the ball well and when we started throwing it to the post our offense suddenly had some cadence,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “Defensively, I thought we communicated well and made things tough for them.”
The Sooners (2-1) matched a team record for fewest points allowed in a half, giving up just 10 through the first 20 minutes. OU didn't allow a basket until the 11-minute mark and only allowed Saint Louis 17 percent shooting from the field in the first half.
“We didn't give them anything easy in transition early,” Coale said. “And we blocked out, which was a big improvement.”
Although the team had the 30-point lead at the break, OU looked sloppy coming out of halftime and missed its first six shots with three turnovers. The Billikens (0-3) went on a 6-0 run, causing Coale to rotate in five new players.
“We were playing flat and they know that's unacceptable,” Coale said.
The brief drought ended when forward Portia Durrett drained the jumper to give OU the 42-16 lead with 14:34 left in the game. The Sooners were led offensively by center Nicole Griffin's 15 points. Griffin credited her weekly preparation at the low-post position for her improved performance.
“I've gotten a lot more comfortable with more pressure and pushing and a lot of those shots are starting to fall," Griffin said.
OU outmuscled the Billikens under the glass, finishing with 37 boards to Saint Louis' 25. The defense improved on its pressure underneath the rim from a week ago when OU was out-rebounded 56-34 in the loss to UCLA, something that the Sooners said they wanted to fix during Sunday's matchup.
“That was why we lost on Wednesday, and so it was a big emphasis in this game,” senior guard Whitney Hand said. “(Saint Louis) only had eight offensive rebounds, which was much better. We only gave up 33 points and won the rebounding battle, which were things we needed to care of before heading to Hawaii.”