Call it what you like, but if you watched this game I have a hard time believing you'd disagree with the statement I'm about to make. This game was without a doubt decided by the officials and it was an absolutely miserable performance by the men and women in stripes. Sherri Coale was asked to address the officials in her post game press conference and due to the unexplainable protection given to these people, was smart enough not to comment and avoid a potential fine from the league. From what I've seen this year, the Big 12 officials (both men and women) are beyond atrocious. These people are not supposed to be deciding the outcome of games and I can guarantee that no one who paid to get into any of these games is there to see them blow their whistle. There has to be some kind of repercussions for these shoddy performances and they need to be held accountable and yet we all know that will never happen.
So, on to the game. OU played an incredibly sloppy first half and was really never able to get into a rhythm (see ref rant above). Early foul trouble (again) led to the leader of the Sooner offense, Danielle Robinson, missing significant time and expectantly the OU offense sputtered without D-Rob at the helm. OU went to the break down 13 and watching the game it felt closer to 23.
The second half was a different story as Robinson caught fire drawing Sooners to within four. Then A&M would go on a run and extend it to double digits only to see OU come back and eventually take the lead. It was a back and forth game at that point and probably the most exciting game of the season thus far. OU fought so hard to get back into the game and yet A&M seemed to have an answer every time. With less than a minute to go the game was tied and Robinson, an outstanding free throw shooter, was headed to the line with a chance to put OU up by two. Surprisingly she missed the front end of a one-and-one leading to an A&M rebound and eventual missed shot, but offensive rebound by
Courtney ParisDanielle Adams who was then fouled and calmly nailed her two freebies. OU inbounded the ball with less than 10 seconds, D-Rob drives the ball up the court, comes off a screen, takes the ball to the basket, and gets absolutely hammered. Where is the whistle you might ask? Well, you know if you read the opening paragraph. It was an atrocious non-call and an absolute travesty that a game this back and forth was decided on a play like that. But take nothing away from A&M because they played an excellent game and kept getting up after OU was knocking them down.
OU was led by Robinson's 33 points, Whitney Hand's 17, and Aaryn Ellenberg's 13. Continuing disturbing stat - only five Sooners scored in this game and aside from Lindsey Cloman's seven points, OU got zero production from their bench. If this team is going to have a legitimate shot to win the conference, they are going to have to get more from their reserves. Coale still seems reluctant to play her bigs and aside from Hartman and Hook they really don't have any backup guards either. Hook, who was red hot at the start of conference play, has turned whatever word there is to describe colder than cold. She took one shot in this game from the corner and I believe the ball hit the backside of the goal, so yeah she's not shooting very well right now.
The simple fact of the matter is if Robinson is in foul trouble, this offense is very average. Hand is still playing back into game shape and her shot is just a tad off because of it. Hook was giving them another legitimate threat from beyond the arc and that's no longer happening. Hartman is limited offensively and that's putting it kindly. Roethlisberger can never be counted on (at least offensively) and Ellenberg is a freshman who is still getting acclimated to b-ball at this level. McFarland has disappeared in conference play and that just can't happen. This team has to get some kind of production from their post players and for whatever reason it is just not happening right now. This is all probably an overreaction (save the it's only women's basketball) as A&M has really become OU's top rival (Baylor is 1a, oh how I loathe you Kim Mulkey) and these games are always close. It just sucks not protecting your home court and having the game be decided by incompetent officials.
Anyway, I'm sure you're tired of me ranting about women's basketball. The women play the first edition of 2011 Bedlam this Saturday in Stoolwater @ 12pm (central). The game will be on FSN, so tune in and hopefully we'll see OU get back on the winning side of things against a sub-par OSU team!