Women's basketball: Sooners look to keep pace against UCLA
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
After a 21-point blowout win against Creighton on Saturday, the OU women’s basketball team looks to match the speed and toughness of UCLA when the Sooners meet the Bruins at 7 tonight at Lloyd Noble Center.
The Sooners were led against the Blue Jays by junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg and senior guard Whitney Hand who scored 19 and 14 points, respectively. Junior starting point guard Morgan Hook also maintained her preseason average assist-to-turnover ratio of five, dishing out five assists and giving up just one turnover in the game.
Hook said that she felt that she, along with fellow point guards, freshman Maddie Manning and senior Jasmine Hartman, did well dictating the tempo of the game.
“I think I did a good job controlling the game,” Hook said. “They pressed us like the whole entire time, so there was a bunch of up and down. I think Maddie (Manning) and Jasmine (Hartman), they came in at the point guard, and just did a great job of the same thing I did.”
Ellenberg said she is willing to put up points, but as long as the team comes out on top, it doesn’t matter.
“If we win, it obviously really doesn’t matter,” Elleberg said. “We are all really good scorers, and it can be any of us on any night, but me, it doesn’t matter.”
Coach Sherri Coale said that the team won by taking what the defense gave them, something she said her team understands.
“We talk about scoring simply all the time,” Coale said. “Never pass up a guy who is open. Everybody on our team can play, so hit the open guy and the risk factor is very low. We don’t try to hit home runs, we don’t try miracle plays. Just make the easy pass and play together.”
UCLA is led by a few veterans and a bevy of newcomers. Senior forwards Alyssia Brewer and Jasmine Dixon join the starting five this season after Brewer transferred from Tennessee and Dixon sat out last season with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.
Brewer averaged 6.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game at Tennessee and Dixon was an Honorable Mention All-American in 2011 before her injury.
With a strong early season schedule, the Sooners need to meet the speed and athleticism that they saw against Creighton and will see against UCLA and in Big 12 play. Ellenberg said that the Sooners have what it takes.
“We have the athletes,” Ellenberg said. “It’s just plain and simple, we have the athletes.”
Coale said that, although Creighton was a good test, UCLA could not be more of a different team than the Blue Jays, and that the contrast presents a challenge for her team.
“We don’t want our guys to relax just because ther’s not a lot of hard stuff to defend, maybe,” Coale said. “You can’t lose your defensive edge and your commitment to doing it together ... [UCLA] is really good in transition and, individually, they are really good at making plays. And we can’t relax.”
The Sooners take on the Bruins at 7 tonight at Lloyd Noble Center.