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3 takeaways from OU basketball's 82-72 loss to Iowa State in Big 12 Tournament

Nevaeh Tot

Junior guard Nevaeh Tot during the game against Kansas State on Mar. 1

No. 14 Oklahoma (25-6, 14-4 Big 12) fell to Iowa State (21-9, 11-7) 82-72 in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City on Saturday.

Junior guard Nevaeh Tot led the Sooners with 14 points with three assists. Junior Skylar Vann contributed 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. 

OU committed 14 turnovers, which turned into 18 points for the Cyclones. Despite grabbing more offensive rebounds than Iowa State, OU managed just 12 second-chance points to the Cyclones’ 13.

Here are three takeaways from the Sooners’ loss:

Ashley Joens and Madi Williams meet for final time

Iowa State forward Ashley Joens and Williams faced each other for likely the last time in their collegiate careers.

The two have met 11 times, seemingly upping the intensity of the matchup with each meeting. Saturday’s contest was no different, demonstrated by Williams letting out a raucous yell after blocking Joens on a layup attempt in the second half. 

Joens led the Cyclones with 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 39 minutes of action. The 2023 Big 12 Player of the Year also surpassed 3,000 career points in the contest. Joens also delivered 27- and 32-point performances in the Cyclones Jan. 8 and Jan. 28 matchups against the Sooners, respectively. 

After posting six points in the Sooners’ 76-75 win over TCU Friday, Williams got her groove back and led the Sooners with 19 points on 9 of 16 shooting. She also dished five assists and had two blocks.

Sooners stall in third quarter, fight back late

OU entered halftime facing a manageable 42-39 deficit. 

Iowa State expanded its lead early in the third quarter, knocking down six of its first seven shots for 14 points. The Cyclones shot 58.8% in the quarter and opened up 17 attempts to OU’s 41.7% on 12 attempts. 

ISU guard Lexi Donarski accounted for 11 of the Cyclones’ 24 points in the quarter and finished with 20. OU helped the Cyclones by committing six turnovers in the quarter, nearly matching its seven in the first half.

After seemingly putting the Sooners away with a 70-53 lead early in the fourth, OU put itself back into striking distance with an 11-0 run. The six-point deficit was the closest OU got to completing a comeback.

OU’s chances of hosting NCAA Tournament games slips

After hosting its first two NCAA Tournament games last season, the Sooners hoped to begin their March Madness quest in Norman yet again.

OU entered Saturday as a No. 5 seed in ESPN’s latest bracketology, cusping one of the top 4 seeds needed to play host in the Tournament. OU was also left out of the NCAA Selection Committee’s latest top 16, which was announced Feb. 22.

With the loss Saturday, the Sooners chances of repeating as hosts are likely eliminated.

Next, OU will await its seeding in the NCAA Tournament, which will be announced on Selection Sunday at 7 p.m. Sunday.

This story was edited by Austin Curtright and Colton Sulley.

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