Llanusa's 25 Points Lead OU Past SMU


Wednesday, December 1st 2021, 6:26 am
By: OU Athletics


DALLAS -

The Oklahoma women's basketball team used strong first and fourth quarters on Tuesday night to defeat SMU in Dallas, 84-72.

The Sooners scored a combined 51 points in those frames to bookend their performance, highlighted by Ana Llanusa's 25 points and freshman guard Kelbie Washington's 10 assists. With the win, Oklahoma (6-1, 0-0 Big 12) is off to its best start since the 2015-16 season when OU opened 9-1.

"There are moments that you can tell we're really starting to figure this out," head coach Jennie Baranczyk said after the win. "I was really happy with how we started and finished tonight, and there are things in the middle that we can continue to work on. You can just see that this is starting to come together."

The Sooners opened the game with their best first quarter of the season, dropping 29 points on 59% from the field. The big three of Llanusa, Taylor Robertson and Madi Williams all poured in seven-plus-points in the frame, taking the lead on the first posession of the game and never surrendering it. Oklahoma held SMU to 25% (4-of-16) in the first as the Mustangs finished with just nine points after 10 minutes of play.

Down 19 after the opening quarter, the Mustangs made adjustments in the second, cutting into the Oklahoma lead by winning the frame 24-15 giving OU a 10-point lead at the break.

A balanced offensive attack in the third led by five Sooners who scored matched the Mustangs' 18 third-quarter points. After being shutout in the second and nearly all of the third frame, Robertson hit her third 3-pointer of the night as the buzzer sounded, sending OU into the final quarter up 10.

As SMU tried to cut deeper into the OU lead, Oklahoma fed off the crowd's energy and returned to first-quarter form in the fourth, extending its lead to 18 after a Llanusa bucket with 3:31 remaining. A strong close to the game delivered the Sooners their third win in a row in wire-to-wire fashion.

"The big thing tonight was our fans that were here gave us so much energy," Baranczyk added. "Those fans that made the trip helped us tremendously tonight. I would be remiss if we didn't give credit to our fans, because they really fueled us."

Llanusa's 25 points on 9-of-20 shooting led the way as the redshirt senior scored 20-plus for the first time since Feb. 26, 2020, at Kansas. The guard added a team-high eight rebounds and an additional six assists in the win. Washington's 10 assists are the most of her young career as the freshman has 25 assists in her last three contests. In addition, the Norman product tallied five rebounds, four points and two steals on the night. Robertson was 7-of-10 from the field, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc, scoring 19 points and adding seven boards and six assists. Williams' last bucket gave her 15 points as the senior has scored 15-plus six times this season. 

The Sooners shot a season-high 51% from the field and were 15-of-20 from the free throw line. Oklahoma, the nation's leader in assists, dished out 26 assists, good for second-best this season.

Baranczyk's team returns to Norman for a five-game homestand to close out its non-conference slate, starting with a Dec. 4 matchup with Mississippi State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.