After Marist pulled within one at 51-50 with 8:15 remaining, the Sooners really imposed their will and closed on a 17-5 run to finish the game and move to 7-1 on the season.
“Good win,” said OU head coach Sherri Coale. “All wins are good. Wasn’t quite as pretty as we would have liked for it to be, but give them credit. Marist plays really hard. They’re very well coached, and they’re hard to guard.”
One of the biggest plays of that run came when guard Whitney Hand leaped and saved a ball from going out of bounds, flipping it to guard Morgan Hook, who dropped in a short jumper inside the lane to make it 55-50 at the time with seven minutes and change remaining.
“It just gives us momentum,” Hook said. “And we practice that in practice all the time, like jump in front of the ball and you see your teammate diving out of bounds, you want to do something for her. She was, I mean, literally going full speed and turned around to do it and just in your mind you just want to do it for her and I think it really gave us momentum through the rest of the game.
“Like Aaryn went down and set a charge, and if that play before didn’t happen, it might not have set it up for the defensive end.”
Later, a steal and lay in by guard Aaryn Ellenberg, ran the count to 59-50.
That was part of her game-high 18 points.
Shortly after that, OU extended its lead to double digits and never led by less than that again, getting up as much as 14 inside the final two minutes.
“Well, it seems like there are always moments that if you can grab them and bottle them, you can change the destiny of the game,” Coale said. “And I thought Whitney’s save that Morgan converted and then Vegas followed that play by taking a charge at the other end, that really gave us that cushion and that ignition that we needed and sometimes it’s just that. I felt like we just sort of sloshed through the game.
“Everything happened at the same speed. No team could really, neither team could really shake the other, and that gave us a little bit of distance and a little bit of a pop. It didn’t last quite as long as I would have liked for it to, but it was long enough to create a cushion that they couldn’t recover from.”
Though the Sooners shot just 6-of-23 from behind the arc, they converted a respectable 42.2 percent of their field goal attempts overall while limiting Marist to 34.4 percent.
A huge reason for that is the Red Wolves hit just three of their 22 attempts, or 13.6 percent, from 3-point range.
OU was able to capitalize with 17 points off 17 Marist turnovers, and the Red Wolves were unable to reciprocate that off 19 Sooner turnovers.
They only converted those into nine points.
While the Sooners outshot the Red Wolves, they also had a sizable margin in the rebounding column, dominating that 48-35.
Hand, who finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds, led the way there.
“I mean you just take what you get, and right now I’m playing the position where I’m getting a lot of rebounds and I’ll take it, those stats,” Hand said. “But at the same time, I mean our whole team blocked out well. You don’t get a rebound when your whole team doesn’t block out.”
Hook was the third Sooner to manage double-digit points with her 16.
For Marist, forwards Emma O’Connor and Elizabeth Beynnon managed 18 and 13 points, respectively.
Guard Leanne Ockenden netted 10.
The Sooners will get back to action when they play host to North Texas at 7 p.m. Thursday in the third game of a seven-game home stand.
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