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OU women's basketball: Nearly back to full strength, Sooners find balance in complete win over South Dakota

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Sherri Coale

OU head coach Sherri Coale celebrates during the Sooners' win over South Dakota Dec. 20.

Waiting in anticipation for the Sooners line-up to be announced ahead of their match-up against the South Dakota Coyotes, junior forward Madi Williams was dancing.

After the Sooners win, she was once again dancing.

Two weeks and three games ago was the last time Williams, the Sooners’ leading scorer, stepped foot on a basketball court due to COVID-19 contact tracing. In her return, Williams delivered 19 points and was a powerful influence in the Sooners’ (2-4, 0-1 Big 12) 80-73 victory over South Dakota (3-3) in Norman on Sunday.

“Madi is a playmaker,” head coach Sherri Coale said. “We are able to eye Madi and just let her go make a play and size up her defender, and she did that several times when we needed buckets in the second half.”

Williams was not the only player who scored in double-digits. Junior guard Taylor Robertson had 25 points and was 7-for-7 at the free-throw line, and sophomore guard Gabby Gregory supplied 17 points. Together, they knocked down all seven three-pointers for the Sooners.

OU’s offensive prosperity wasn’t just due to the double-digit scorers, either, but also the assistance that freshman guard Nevaeh Tot and sophomore forward Liz Scott provided. Tot put up seven assists and Scott remained an integral factor with her ball-handling.

“Tot was terrific today. I thought Tot did a great job recognizing where the advantage was,” Coale said. “ (Scott) is talented and she has all kinds of swag in her offensive game. That is obvious. When she can play instinctually offensively, she is really tough to deal with.”

With eight available players of nine on the active roster impacting the offensive side of the ball, the Sooners’ field goal percentage rose to 50.9 percent and the squad was able to rotate talent in and out, after having just six or seven players for the past two weeks due to COVID-19. Junior guard Tatum Veitenheimer was the only active player that was not available for the contest.

It was evident that having almost the entire roster — along with each player greatly contributing on both sides of the ball —was crucial to the Sooners’ win, as the squad displayed completeness and balance it has lacked in recent games.

OU is slated to face Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday, Dec. 29. The competition will start at 7 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. Until then, the Sooners will be enjoying having most of their squad back and the rhythm they have revived.

“The balance there is the key," Coale said. "They all went to their strengths and were able to produce for us. We’re just able to couple players’ strengths with one another, and it was just so nice to have some room to do that today after three games where there was no space.”

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