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OU women's basketball: 3 takeaways from OU's 88-66 exhibition win over Oklahoma City University

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Junior guard Ana Llanusa, junior forward Mandy Simpson, and sophomore guard Jessi Murcer chat during a timeout Nov. 4.

Oklahoma got its first taste of game action on Monday, in the form of an exhibition victory over Oklahoma City University. 

The Sooners defeated the Stars by a score of 88-68. Junior guard Ana Llanusa led Oklahoma in scoring with 27 points.

Here are three key takeaways from tonight's exhibition and what each of them mean for the Sooners moving forward. 

Defense

An improved level of defensive intensity was a major point of focus for the Sooners over the offseason. Tonight, the Sooners made it clear from the beginning that this is not last year's team.

Last season, Oklahoma allowed 79 points per game. They also forced 16 turnovers and nabbed eight steals per game.

Tonight they allowed 68 points, forced 22 turnovers and recorded nine steals.

But the numbers don't even tell the full story. Oklahoma was noticeably more active on defense, from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. 

The Sooners' porous defense cost them greatly last season. If they can continue this level of defensive intensity and activity, the ceiling for this team is very high. 

Ana Llanusa & Taylor Robertson

The Sooners did not waste much time establishing their offensive identity this season. 

To open the game, Llanusa and sophomore guard Taylor Robertson splashed a pair of threes on back-to-back trips. They did not stop there.

Robertson finished 6-10 from three with 20 points. Llanusa went 7-11 from the field and 10-13 from the free throw line.

Llanusa's unique playmaking and shot-creating ability meshes perfectly with Robertson's expert floor spacing and perimeter shooting.

Both players are spectacular in their own right. But together, they form a dynamic duo likely to take the Big 12, maybe the country, by storm.

Growing Pains

Last season's squad featured six freshmen, which made for an aggressively young (and extremely inexperienced) team.

Those six freshmen are now sophomores, but the growing pains aren't gone yet.

This team still features 10 underclassmen, and exactly zero seniors. It helps that most of Oklahoma's young talent earned valuable experience last season, but they are still just that, young. 

Oklahoma looks improved in almost every facet of the game. Yet they still can't seem to shake the simple mistakes and miscommunications. 

Growing pains are a natural part of any team, especially one banking so hard on its young stars.

Only time will tell if these are truly early-season mishaps or if they point to something deeper.

Oklahoma will open its season vs. Prairie View A&M at 8 p.m. CT on Friday, Nov. 8 in the Lloyd Noble Center. 

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