Senior forward Liz Scott has started every game for Oklahoma this season and has provided the Sooners with consistent leadership.
Scott continued to shine in No. 19 Oklahoma’s (14-2, 8-1 Big 12) big win over No. 23 Kansas (12-4, 3-3) on Saturday afternoon in Norman.
“I’m really proud of Liz today,” OU coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “She provided incredible energy for us.”
Scott doesn’t always fill up the stat sheet, but her coach and her teammates are proud of the hustle plays that make her team better. She grabbed her 11th rebound of the game with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Following the rebound, Scott immediately went coast to coast and finished an and-1. The points cut the Jayhawks’ lead down to three points.
“The ball didn’t get stuck in her hands, she just moved,” Baranczyk said.
With 7:11 remaining in the game, Scott battled for a rebound and found senior guard Taylor Robertson waiting for the outlet. Robertson assisted a Williams bucket to give the Sooners a 64-57 lead and caused Kansas to call a timeout.
Scott had an impressive performance on all sides of the ball for OU. She finished with 10 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
With 3:08 remaining in the game, Scott stole the ball and passed the ball to junior guard Nevaeh Tot. Tot found Aubrey Joens wide open. Joens knocked down a 3-pointer to give OU a 72-62 lead.
“I just tried to use my length,” Scott said. “I was just really happy it went in so I didn’t have to go all the way down there and try to rebound.
“It was a great play.”
Here are two more takeaways from OU’s win:
Battling through adversity
Oklahoma has been known for its electric shooting performances so far this season, but that wasn’t the case to start the game on Saturday.
The Sooners shot a mere 6-for-25 from the floor in the first quarter, including 2-for-14 from beyond the 3-point line.
“I’m not worried at all about our shooting because we’re getting some really good looks,” Baranczyk said.
The shooting struggles extended to free throws as well for the Sooners, as they shot 3-for-8 from the line in the first half. Oklahoma missed 11 free throws in the game, finishing 17-for-26.
“When the ball doesn’t go in you can still defend,” Baranczyk said. “I thought today was one of our best games that we’ve had in terms of playing team defense.”
Senior guard Ana Llanusa got hot with 1:42 remaining in the first half. She scored five points to end the half and bring the Sooners within seven.
OU fought back in the second half, securing a win against another ranked opponent.
Williams exploded for 13 points in the fourth quarter. She banked in a 3-point shot with 3:33 remaining in the game to give the Sooners a seven point lead.
The Jayhawks arrived in Norman playing aggressive and physical basketball, led by center Taiyanna Jackson.
Oklahoma struggled to keep Jackson off of the boards, as she grabbed 13 rebounds. Senior forward Liz Scott matched the Jayhawks physicality. She grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds and added 10 points.
“I’m fine with the physicality,” Baranczyk said. “We can play physical, we just have to stop with the ticky-tack fouls.”
Scott scored back-to-back buckets with 3:30 remaining in the first half to help the Sooners stay within striking distance and cut the Jayhawks’ lead to 29-22.
“Our game is transition and we like to play fast,” Williams said. “The more stops we can get, the more rebounds we can get and go the better.”
The Sooners finished with a season high 22 offensive rebounds and 57 total rebounds. Baranczyk was proud of how her team responded and played physical despite struggles shooting the ball.
“We’ll go down being who we are, but it’s not going to be because we’re not trying,” Baranczyk said. “In the second half, we were who we were.”