OU Women Open Basketball Season With Dominant Win Over Wichita State

The Sooners started slow against the Shockers, who built a nine-point lead midway through the first quarter. The Sooners responded with a 6-0 run to close the frame and trimmed the Shockers' lead to 21-18 after 10 minutes. The Sooners locked in defensively in the second quarter, holding Wichita State to just five made field goals in the frame, but nine turnovers were costly as OU trailed 38-34 at the break. Last season, Oklahoma was 8-6 when trailing at the half.

Monday, November 6th 2023, 10:52 pm

By: Soonersports.com , OU Athletics


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The Oklahoma Sooners women's basketball team opened the season Monday at Lloyd Noble Center with a 24-point win over Wichita State.

The Sooners started slow against the Shockers, who built a nine-point lead midway through the first quarter. The Sooners responded with a 6-0 run to close the frame and trimmed the Shockers' lead to 21-18 after 10 minutes. The Sooners locked in defensively in the second quarter, holding Wichita State to just five made field goals in the frame, but nine turnovers were costly as OU trailed 38-34 at the break. Last season, Oklahoma was 8-6 when trailing at the half.

Payton Verhulst made her OU debut and tied her career-high with 16 points, while Aubrey Joens led the Sooners (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) with 19 points in the win. OU improved to 15-0 in non-conference home games in the regular season under third-year head coach Jennie Baranczyk.

"I thought that we did a much better job of playing together in the second half," Baranczyk said. "Hats off to Wichita State – I thought they were terrific and threw the first punch and we were on our heels a little bit. But overall, I'm still really proud of our group for their response."

The Sooners got off to a slow start in their season opener as Wichita State (1-0, 0-0 AAC), led by first-year coach Terry Nooner, built a nine-point lead midway through the first quarter. The Sooners responded with a 6-0 run to close the frame and trimmed the Shockers' lead to 21-18 after 10 minutes. The Sooners locked in defensively in the second quarter, holding Wichita State to just five made field goals in the frame, but nine turnovers were costly as OU trailed 38-34 at the break. Last season, Oklahoma was 8-6 when trailing at the half.

Baranczyk and her staff made the necessary halftime adjustments, opening the third quarter on a 12-2 run to overtake WSU and grab a lead it would hold onto for the rest of the afternoon. The Sooners shot 80% (12 of 15) from the field in the third quarter and turned the ball over only four times, outscoring Wichita State by 24 points. OU maintained the pressure and relied on Joens, who scored 13 of her team-high 19 points in the final frame to secure the victory.

Aside from Joens and Verhulst, Lexy Keys (14 points), Sahara Williams (11 points) and Reyna Scott (10) reached double figures. Williams, a five-star freshman from Waterloo, Iowa, added six rebounds and two steals. Nevaeh Tot added six assists and four points in the victory, while freshman Landry Allen was a team-best plus-20 with four points, three blocks and two rebounds in her debut.

Oklahoma shot 56.5% as a team (62% in the second half) and held the Shockers to 35.2% (25 of 71) from the floor. OU outrebounded WSU 50-29, improving to 13-0 under Baranczyk when grabbing 50 boards. The Sooners dished out 20 assists and tallied 11 steals that led to 14 points off Wichita State turnovers. OU's depth, a staple of Baranczyk teams, proved the difference again, scoring 43 bench points compared to 21 for Wichita State.

The Sooners hit the road for a top-25 showdown Thursday at No. 12 Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. on the SEC Network in a rematch of last year's battle in Norman that saw OU knock off the Rebels 69-59. OU's next home game is Sunday, Nov. 12, when Oral Roberts comes to Norman.

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