NORMAN — They say they’re over it. Or that they’ve moved on. Or that, anyway, they must put it behind them. Even if the game remains a bit of a mystery.
The 22nd-ranked Oklahoma women are at Allen Fieldhouse at 1:30 p.m. today to take on a good Kansas team that’s no longer ranked, but figures to be a plenty tough out.
Also, they’re doing it coming off a home-court loss to Iowa State that remains very hard to figure.
The Sooners led the Cyclones in virtually every statistical category three days ago at Lloyd Noble Center, but ended up losing 72-68 after Morgan Hook, Joanna McFarland, Aaryn Ellenberg and Sharane Campbell all fouled out of a game in which Iowa State attempted 34 free throws and OU attempted only 14.
The loss dropped the Sooners (18-6, 8-4 Big 12) into third place in the conference standings, where they remain a half game in front of Texas Tech. As a matter of pride and seeding at the upcoming Big 12 tournament, they don’t want to drop any further. As a matter of receiving a favorable draw at the NCAA tournament, they don’t want to lose any more ground.
“We just want to finish strong,” point guard Morgan Hook said.
Trying to make sense of the Iowa State loss, the Sooners are trying to focus on what they accomplished: shooting the ball better than the Cyclones, grabbing more rebounds than the Cyclones, creating more assists than the Cyclones; rather than the net result.
“We played hard. We fought,” said Griffin, OU’s center. “It’s like, what else can you do? We knew we did good things, so we’re not down on ourselves.”
One thing the Sooners could use is a big game from leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg, whose 19-point average against conference opponents trails only Baylor’s Brittany Griner and Kansas State’s Brittany Chambers.
Ellenberg had a run of 9 of 10 games scoring at least 18 points, but has hit the number only once in her last five games.
They could always use more from their bench, and they could stand to turn the ball over less than the 18 times they coughed it up against Iowa State.
Mostly, OU must rebound from a still shocking loss.
“We just have to take it,” Hook said. “Just because we’re still thinking, ‘How did that even happen?’ it’s a game that’s already past and you can’t think about any more. You just have to focus on the next game.”
It may not be easy, but it must happen today.
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