Women's basketball: Rally too little, too late for Sooners, fall to UCLA, 86-80
Kingsley Burns, The Oklahoma Daily
The OU women’s basketball team was outhustled, outrebounded and outmuscled as it fell to UCLA, 86-80 Wednesday night at Lloyd Noble Center.
“I’m disappointed in our effort,” coach Sherri Coale said. “I’m disappointed with our response to the physical play. If that’s the way the game is going to be played, then we have to adjust to it, you have to fight back”
The Sooners’ most glaring deficiency was on the offensive glass, with UCLA picking up 24 offensive boards compared to just eight for OU. Coale said she was shocked by the discrepancy.
“You don’t beat anybody when you give up 24 offensive rebounds,” Coale sad. “That’s just a number that is unheard of.”
Overall, the Sooners were outrebounded by 22, OU’s highest margin since losing to Notre Dame in the 2011 Sweet 16.
The Sooners trailed by just one at halftime, riding a 20-point half by junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg, who was 7-7 from 3-point range in the half.
Senior guard Whitney Hand said that without Ellenberg’s Herculean effort, they would have been much worse off based on their play.
“Had Aaryn (Ellenberg) not shot seven 3s (in the first half), we would have been down by 40,” Hand said. “So it’s not like we were playing great in the first half, she was just on fire.”
Ellenberg was humble, as always, with regards to her massive first-half performance.
“I don’t really have exact words for it,” Ellenberg said. “We’re getting off running and they’re getting me the ball, I’m going to try and shoot it.”
The Sooners struggled in the second half, with UCLA’s lead ballooning to 18 points in the second half. The Sooners mounted a com back however, taking the lead all the way down to three points in the waning moments of the game.
UCLA’s continued physicality and rebounding prowess was too much for the Sooners, however, and the effort fell short, leaving OU with its first loss of the season.
UCLA coach Cori Close said that her team’s rebounding ability told her a lot about her team’s toughness and mentality.
“Relentlessness and will are what rebounding’s all about,” Close said. “I think it showed a lot about our heart and mentality.”
The Sooners lack of toughness and inability to rebound the basketball led to a loss, and Hand said they’re mind just wasn’t in the right place.
“There’s no excuse for it,” Hand said. “We weren’t in the right state of mind and that’s evident in how the game went.”
OU is back in action against Saint Louis at 2 p.m. Sunday at Lloyd Noble Center.