Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
The final score of 86-80 (box score), with the Sooners coming out on the losing side of things, really could not be more misleading. Oklahoma was getting blown out for the better part of the second half, before mounting a furious rally in the latter stages only to come up short at the end.
However, there were some very alarming aspects to this game which if you took the time to watch Sherri Coale's postgame comments you know about already. UCLA exposed two things that have been an issue for this program ever since Coale took over. Those two things are (1) turnovers and (2) athleticism.
I'll address them in reverse order. It's not to say OU doesn't have athletes on the court, but when you watch them next to a team like UCLA or Texas A&M (a team that owned OU before moving to the SEC) the differences are so glaring, frankly it's embarrassing at times. This is what we saw last night. An OU team that struggled mightily to stay in front on defense and that failed miserably to beat their defender off the dribble on offense.
As for turnovers, some people who watch women's basketball would probably tell you it's just a part of the game you have to accept. I've never really understood why this was and why a 15-20 turnover game for Oklahoma is the norm. Much like I've never understood why OU continually makes post entry passes at a player's shoelaces, but I digress. The casualness with which Oklahoma turns the ball over is disturbing to say the least. They had seven within the first five minutes Wednesday night. Were it not for an unconscious Aaryn Ellenberg, who was 6-6 from three and finished the first half with 20 points, the Sooners would likely have been down by twenty at halftime.
Couple all of that with the fact that Oklahoma was absolutely abused on the boards, the fact it was only a six point loss is rather miraculous. UCLA finished with 24 offensive rebounds (!!!) and out rebounded Oklahoma in the game 56-34. The Sooners had almost zero second chances on the offensive end, while the Bruins continually had multiple cracks at the basket.
All of that said, you have to respect their fortitude in fighting back to at least make a game of it when they could have easily packed it in. It was a two possession game in the waning minutes, but whether it was a rebound Oklahoma could not get or a free throw they could not make (they finished 19-31 from the line) it seemed to be just out of reach all night long.
The Sooners fall to 1-1 on the season and will stay in Norman for a Sunday match-up against Saint Louis University at 2 pm (CST).