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OU basketball: Sooners assert themselves despite 98-93 loss to No. 9 Oregon in Battle 4 Atlantis

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Taylor Robertson

Senior guard Taylor Robertson holds the ball during the game against Central Arkansas on Nov. 16.

Oklahoma went to Paradise Island, Bahamas looking for a chance to prove itself. 

Against No. 9 Oregon (3-0), it did just that. Despite losing its first game in the Battle 4 Atlantis Women's Tournament 98-93, the Sooners (3-1) made an impression. OU led the Ducks for 31:23 of game time, trailing for only 4:09.

Oklahoma’s biggest challenge of the early season came with many ups and downs. Head coach Jennie Baranczyk has stressed the importance of playing a complete game through four contests. She wanted great offense and great defense throughout the course of the game. She got that, just not in crunch time.

In the first half, OU played great defense, forcing 11 turnovers and holding the Ducks to 37 percent shooting from the field and 35 points. In the second half, OU gave up 63 points on 59 percent shooting, forcing only five turnovers. Oregon’s offensive explosion after halftime left Baranczyk speechless after the game.

“We just didn’t have an answer for them in the second half,” Baranczyk said. “They just got really high-percentage shots. From that standpoint, we’ve got to help each other a little bit more.”

On offense, OU shot poorly, posting 36 percent from the field in the game. OU did better shooting from 3-point range, going 39 percent. In keeping with Baranczyk’s system, the Sooners spread the ball around and recorded 22 assists. Three players hit double-digit points, including senior guard Taylor Robertson’s team-high 29 points. All seven of her baskets were 3s.

OU also scored 18 fastbreak points, and Baranczyk was impressed with her team’s ability to keep the tempo high.

“I think some positives are the fastbreak game,” Baranczyk said. “From a tempo standpoint, we’re getting there. We didn’t have a great shooting percentage, and we still had so many points. Those are some positives.”

Despite leading for the majority of the game, the Sooners collapsed in the fourth quarter. OU let Oregon slowly make its way back into the game, and got outscored 38-26 in the quarter. 

Oregon forward Nyara Sabally proved to be a thorn in OU’s side in the final period, scoring 10 points to finish with 30 on the night. Just like the rest of Oregon's offense, the Sooners could not find a way to stop her. Oregon’s comeback was completed with 1:26 left to go in the game when the Ducks took an 88-86 lead. 

Despite the blown lead, the Sooners competed admirably against a top-10 team. The Sooners received a huge opportunity to show the world what they’re building in their first season under Baranczyk, who was hired away from Drake to replace the retired Sherri Coale.

“We're not proud to lose this game,” Baranczyk said. “But, we are proud that we came into this game and we were ourselves. We came out ready. That’s something you can grow on. We’re going to keep going and we’re going to get better.

“We’re just starting to scratch the surface. We’re building something pretty special here at Oklahoma.”

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