If Nicole Griffin becomes a consistently dominant center for the Oklahoma Sooners, you could look back to Sunday's game against Oklahoma State to find when the pieces finally came together.
The Cowgirls had no answer for the Sooners' 6-foot-6 junior, as Griffin dominated the paint, scoring a career-high 21 points to help the No. 23 Sooners roll to an 80-61 win over No. 22 Oklahoma State in round one of Bedlam at Lloyd Noble Center.
Griffin's career day, along with double-doubles from Sharane Campbell and Joanna McFarland helped the Sooners hold a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint. Campbell finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while McFarland finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Aaryn Ellenberg scored 17 points for OU, while Morgan Hook added eight points and 10 assists.
Kendra Suttles continued her strong play for the Cowgirls, leading the team with 15 points and nine rebounds. Liz Donohoe scored 13 points and Brittney Martin scored 12 points before fouling out with 3:58 remaining in the game.
The Cowgirls started the game well, using point guard Tiffany Bias' speed to force OU's post players to commit to her drives into the lane, which resulted in easy baskets for OSU. Oklahoma State used that advantage, as well as a cold OU start to grab an 8-3 lead at the first media timeout.
The game changed when OSU center Toni Young picked up her second foul with 14:06 remaining in the half and was forced to sit for the duration of the first half. With Young on the bench, the Sooners were able to tie the game at 16 before OSU pulled ahead again.
Oklahoma took its first lead of the game with 4:21 remaining in the half on a Campbell jumper, and took the lead for good on two free throws from McFarland that put the Sooners up 27-26. A layup from Griffin gave the Sooners a 31-28 lead at the break.
The Cowgirls forced OU to shoot just 1-for-8 from 3-point range, an uncharacteristically low percentage for the Sooners. However, that trend wouldn't carry over into the second half.
The Sooners opened up the second half on fire, consistently getting inside for layups and other easy buckets. Oklahoma outscored the Cowgirls 18-8 over the first six minutes of the half, forcing the Cowgirls to burn two timeouts during the run.
Oklahoma State wasn't able to stop the bleeding, thanks to another poor half of shooting. After shooting 34.4 percent from the field in the first half, OSU managed to shoot just 35.3 percent in the second half.
Meanwhile, the Sooners were finding their range from deep, hitting 6-of-9 3-pointers to blow the game wide open. When Nicole Kornet buried a 3 from in front of the OU bench, the Sooners had a 65-46 lead with 8:13 to play.
Oklahoma State wouldn't go quietly, going on a quick 6-0 run to cut the lead to 13 and force OU to call a timeout. However, Ellenberg responded with a 5-0 run of her own, hitting a 3-pointer and two free throws to put the game out of reach.
Griffin had the final say, scoring and drawing a foul to push the OU lead to 20 with 2:10 remaining. If Griffin's performance Sunday is any indication of things to come, OU has a lot to look forward to, both for the rest of this season, and for next.