MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

February 4, 2014

Foul trouble costly in Sooners’ loss to Baylor

NORMAN — Baylor seems to be hitting their stride after securing another Big 12 road win at Oklahoma.

“We’re a much better and much improved team than we were three months ago,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. “I felt we were focused and I thought we came out and set the tone at the beginning of the game. It’s a good win.”

Freshman Nina Davis recorded a double-double in the first half and NCAA scoring leader Odyssey Sims recovered from a slow start to have 27 points as the Lady Bears maintained their hold on first place in the Big 12 with an 81-67 win over Oklahoma on Monday night. It was the seventh-ranked Lady Bears (19-3, 9-1 Big 12) fourth conference road victory in five tries this season and their seventh straight win overall against the Sooners.

Davis scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 13 minutes of play in the opening half. She finished with 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting and hauled in 14 rebounds including five offensive boards. Freshman Imani Wright scored 11 of her 15 points in the first half. She came into the game averaging 5.5 points.

Oklahoma (14-9, 5-5) kept the game close in the early going and managed to pull even on two occasions in the first half, but the Lady Bears never trailed in the game.

After Oklahoma had closed the gap to four at 27-23 with 6:51 left in the opening 20 minutes, Baylor went on a 16-1 run led by Sims, who didn’t hit her first basket until the 12:12 mark of the first half. The 5-8 senior scored back to back buckets and a free throw in the middle of that run and the Lady Bears expanded the lead to 19 before settling for a 47-31 halftime advantage.

In the second half, Oklahoma mounted a comeback behind the shooting of Morgan Hook, who scored 14 of her 18 points after intermission. Hook’s 3-pointer with 11:03 left in the game cut Baylor’s lead to 57-50, but that was as close as the Sooners could come the rest of the way.  

For the Sooners, scoring leader Aaryn Ellenberg spent most of the night in foul trouble. She failed to hit a shot from the field in the first half and got her only basket of the game in the opening minute of the second half. Ellenberg picked up three fouls before halftime and recorded number four with 16:35 to play. She fouled out with just four points — 15 below her average — in only 13 minutes of playing time.

Three Oklahoma players fouled out of the contest.  Freshman Gioya Carter was the only other player in double figures for the Sooners, scoring 12 points.

“We had some guys who were tired and playing out of position because of early fouls,” said Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale. “The foul situation helped takes us out of it. There was never any rhythm in the game whatsoever.”

Sims recovered from her slow start to lead all scorers, hitting 8-of-23 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point range and 8-of-9 free throws. Even though she was only credited with three assists, Mulkey was impressed with her star’s floor leadership.

“Yes, Odyssey is our catalyst but Odyssey can pass the ball and whip it to anyone she sees open,” Mulkey said. “She doesn’t mind doing it with everyone.”

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