NORMAN — College basketball's rule changes were implemented to give offensive players more freedom of movement and increase scoring, and maybe the game will eventually improve.
But the strict, no-tolerance attitude Thursday night inside the Lloyd Noble Center turned the Sooners' 82-78, Preseason WNIT semifinal win over Gonzaga into a glorified free-throw shooting contest.
“It's difficult because you don't know from game to game what kind of game is gonna be called,” said Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves.
“Obviously I can't comment that much on it, but it's frustrating.
“I don't know if it's gonna make our game better or not. I assume that we'll all adjust to it at some point, but tonight it was in full fashion.”
Gonzaga and Oklahoma were called for 32 and 22 personal fouls, respectively, Thursday night. The Sooners could've won more comfortably had they been more efficient from the line; OU missed 15 of its 49 free-throw attempts.
“I thought we were really trying to show our hands defensively and play the ball with our feet, and trying to beat them to the spot,” said OU coach Sherri Coale. “They're a hard team to guard.”
Senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg led the Sooners (3-0) with 21 points.
Through three games, the rule changes have clearly had an impact on Oklahoma, which averaged 16.4 personal fouls a game in 2012-13. This season, that number is 23.3.
Sophomore forward Kaylon Williams, who scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds, said she constantly talked to the officials throughout the game to get clarification on what they would call and what they wouldn't.
“They were really helpful,” said Williams, who was called for four personal fouls.
“It was a little hard at first. You just have to be patient to see how the refs are gonna call it.”
Guard Haiden Palmer led Gonzaga (2-1) with 19 points, and Lindsay Sherbert added 14.
With the win, Oklahoma advances to host Sunday afternoon's Preseason WNIT championship game against Louisville, a Final Four team last season.