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OU basketball: 5 final takeaways from the Sooners' 83-77 upset win over No. 14 Baylor

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Skylar Vann

Sophomore guard Skylar Vann celebrates blocking a shot during the game against Baylor on Jan. 12.

No. 23 Oklahoma (14-2, 3-1) knocked off No. 14 Baylor (10-3, 0-2) 83-77 on Wednesday night.

The Sooners were down 10-0 early but rallied behind 22 points from sophomore forward Skylar Vann and 20 from senior forward Madi Williams. 

Here’s five final takeaways from the Sooners’ victory:

Taylor Robertson, Skylar Vann share big performances

While Wednesday’s game didn’t deliver Robertson’s biggest point total of the season, it was her most efficient performance thus far.

The Bears tried to stop the senior guard’s shooting prowess, but couldn’t, as she went 5-for-5 on 3-point attempts en route to breaking the Big 12’s all-time 3-point makes record. Robertson had 15 total points and didn’t miss a shot. 

The win and the record are huge for Robertson, who attributes her basketball success to her late father Dave, who passed away from cancer in 2017.

“She's so special. The way that she embraced this is really special,” head coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “The way that I think she can share these moments with her dad, I think her dad had a hand in this one today. We probably needed to get her a few more looks than just the five shots, but at the same time, not one of those was an easy look. It's just hours of work. It's belief in our team. And it was probably a little help from above.”

In addition to Robertson’s play, sophomore forward Skylar Vann continued to show up off the bench, as she poured in 22 points and seven rebounds on the night. Vann also contributed four steals and three blocks.

“I think when Skylar just plays, she fits in our offensive system so well because she can just make those reads,” Baranczyk said. “She is the ultimate utility player. She does whatever we need her to do. Whenever we need her to do it.”

Foul trouble? No problem

The Sooners were plagued by foul trouble all night. Already shorthanded without senior guard Ana Llanusa due to a season-ending injury and junior guard Gabby Gregory due to health and safety protocols, OU’s depth was in question further on Wednesday night. 

Both freshman guard Kelbie Washington and junior guard Liz Scott picked up their fourth fouls midway through the third quarter.  Kennady Tucker and Skylar Vann also each had four fouls.

Oklahoma finished the night with four players sitting at four fouls and 21 total fouls for the team. It was encouraging to see the Sooners play through those foul troubles and not let it dictate the game. OU’s foul troubles allowed Baylor to attempt 25 free throws on the night, and the Bears made 19.

With Washington on the bench, sophomore guard Nevaeh Tot received a chance to shine. Tot had an impressive showing, adding 11 points, four assists and four rebounds.

Another furious comeback

Oklahoma has now trailed by double-digits in four straight games and has won three of those. 

“Maybe we put too much on this game,” Baranczyk said. “I think in the second half we were settled into the game already. I think we started to make adjustments and get some good momentum. We just need to start better. I think we'll figure that out.”

The Sooners fell behind early, shooting just 36 percent in the first half. OU couldn’t find much rhythm offensively, heading into halftime down six points.

However, the Sooners caught fire in the second half. OU shot 57 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from behind the 3-point line. Robertson paced the Sooners, going 3-for-3 from deep in the last two quarters, as OU drilled eight second half triples as a team.

The Sooners won the game late with stifling defense. In the last 4:30 of the game, Baylor was held to just two points, both courtesy of free-throw makes.

Bench provides lift

The Sooners have received massive contributions from their bench lately, and that was no different against Baylor. OU’s bench has averaged 24.5 points per contest in Big 12 play and surpassed that total against the Bears.

Oklahoma garnered 33 points from its bench on Wednesday. The combination of Vann’s 22 points and Tot’s 6-for-6 free-throw shooting helped boost the shorthanded Sooners.

“When we just flow into our offense we have such a great balance on this team,” Baranczyk said. “Everybody just plays hard, and really good things tend to happen. Our crowd also got into it tonight. I think that was the difference between our last two home games."

Big-time win

The Sooners beat a top-15 ranked team for the first time since the 2016-17 season on Wednesday. The 83-77 victory was also OU’s first win over Baylor in seven years. For Baranczyk and her players, the win is among the best they’ve experienced.

“It's really cool,” Robertson said. “None of us have ever beaten Baylor. It's been a while since OU has beaten them. They were really, really good. For us to go out and hang around with them enough to give ourselves a chance at the end and then be able to get stops at the end when we needed to… It's just really cool. I'm glad we all got to experience it.”

Oklahoma is back in action at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15, as the Sooners take on TCU in Norman.

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