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OU basketball: Sooners reset after rough 1st quarter, fire back in road win over Kansas

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Taylor Robertson

Senior guard Taylor Robertson dribbles the ball during the game against ECU on Dec. 7.

Oklahoma found itself in a huge hole early on. 

During Saturday's game in Lawrence, Kansas led the No. 23 Sooners 26-14 at first quarter's end after OU missed nine shots and surrendered nine turnovers.

With five minutes and 38 seconds left in the second quarter, OU trailed 32-21 and struggled to find consistent offense. Head coach Jennie Baranczyk knew she needed to get her leading scorer involved, so she ran senior guard Taylor Robertson off a screen to free her up for an open 3-point shot. Robertson drilled it and found the bottom of the net on the next possession, too, sparking an Oklahoma run.

From that point on, it was all OU. The Sooners (13-2, 2-1 Big 12) came back from a poor first quarter to outscore the Jayhawks 78-42 the rest of the game and beat Kansas (9-2, 0-1) 82-68.

“I think we did a phenomenal job of just resetting ourselves in that second quarter,” Baranczyk said. “We just came out and played. I think in the first part of the first quarter, we were searching for what was going wrong. It just kind of kept snowballing. Then, I think we literally just reset, myself included. We just knew that we could play. We're so good when we just take the scoreboard out and we just play.”

While Robertson had five first quarter points, she only attempted one shot. She was able to use back-to-back triples to get her going, eventually carrying the offensive load for the Sooners, pouring in 24 points while shooting 8-for-11 from the floor.

Oklahoma’s second quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. The Sooners knocked down 5-of-10 shots from behind the 3-point line and finally settled in offensively with 23 total points in the quarter. OU had cut the Jayhawks’ lead to 39-37 entering halftime. 

In the second half, OU was able to put it all together. The Sooners continued to score at a high clip, but the focus was on the defensive end, as OU gave up just nine third quarter points. The Jayhawks finished the period shooting just 30.8 percent on 13 shots.

Oklahoma had its biggest offensive quarter of the night in the fourth, erupting for 28 points. Senior forward Madi Williams did most of her work in the final quarter, tallying 13 of her 20 points. With Williams’s big night, she is now the newest member of OU’s 1500-point club.

“I just want to thank my mom,” Williams said after the game. “And I also just want to thank God. Lastly, I want to thank my teammates for finding me and trusting me to go get a bucket.”

Another encouraging sign for Baranczyk’s squad was its ability to find other ways to score when shots from the field weren’t falling. The Sooners went 16-of-20 from the free-throw line in the contest.

With each passing game in Baranczyk’s free-flowing offensive system, the Sooners seem to click on more levels.

“The chemistry that we have on the court and off the court is fantastic,” Williams said. “You can just see it whenever we play. Even if we're down by a lot, even if we're not playing our best basketball. We're still here, we're all connected, and we know, we know that we'll be alright.”

OU has now won 10 of its last 11 games and returns to Norman for a 6 p.m. showdown with No. 14 Baylor this coming Wednesday, Jan. 12. 

“I think the biggest thing is for us just to start having fun, and then continuing to have fun,” Baranczyk said. “There's a different flow about us, especially offensively, and then collectively as a team defensively when we play like that.”

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