Ortiz scores 17, No. 18 Oklahoma women top Oklahoma St.
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma’s post players pestered Oklahoma State center Kaylee Jensen just enough to help the Sooners hang on.
Jensen, the Big 12’s leader in scoring and rebounding, had 17 points and 15 rebounds, but the 6-foot-4 center made just 7 of 23 shots from the floor and committed seven turnovers in Oklahoma’s 66-60 win on Saturday afternoon.
Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell defended Jensen’s performance after the game.
”There’s just some days, the ball doesn’t go in the hole,” Littell said. ”It’s very difficult for me to be very critical of that kid. She’s carried us all year long.”
Gabbi Ortiz scored 17 points, and Peyton Little and Maddie Manning each added 11 points for the Sooners, who swept the season series from the Cowgirls. Oklahoma won first meeting 68-62 in Norman on Jan 22.
Among the keys to this one: Oklahoma made 10 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, while Oklahoma State made 3 of 6.
”I thought our kids really competed and made plays when we had to make them,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said.
Oklahoma (18-6, 9-3 Big 12) led by 15 in the first half, squandered it, then rallied.
Mandy Coleman led Oklahoma State with 19 points and Karli Wheeler overcame a minor leg injury to finish with 15 points. Oklahoma State (13-9, 3-8) shot 30.9 percent to lose its third straight.
”What has me upset more than anything else is we have some unforced errors,” Littell said. ”Not only on the offense end, but the defensive end of the floor. Our margin of error with what we’re playing with is not big enough that you can make those kinds of mistakes.”
Oklahoma made seven of its first 10 shots to take a 19-4 lead and force an Oklahoma State timeout. The Sooners led 23-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Oklahoma State rallied in the second and cut its deficit to 30-26 at halftime.
”The first quarter felt great, we came out with a lot of energy,” Ortiz said. ”We were moving the ball well, we were knocking down shots. And then in the second (quarter) we got into a lull, we were taking quick shots and we got into a long scoring drought.”
The Cowgirls took the lead early in the third quarter, but Oklahoma withstood the surge and led 47-44 at the end of the period. The Sooners gave Oklahoma State opportunities, but the Cowgirls didn’t cash in.
”I guess what I’m disappointed with is not our effort level or fighting back, it’s attention to detail on some little things that make the difference in winning against a good team and losing against a good team,” Littell said.
Oklahoma remained in third place in the Big 12 with the win. The Sooners couldn’t afford a loss to the Cowgirls, who are talented but in the lower half of the Big 12 standings.
Oklahoma State has come agonizingly close against ranked opponents this season, with a six-point loss at Oklahoma and a five-point loss at Kansas State within the past two weeks.
”It is a little bit frustrating just always being that close and not being able to capitalize on plays that we need to, but we stay together as a team and how to get better for the next game,” Diana Omozee said. ”Once you lose one, you can’t really sulk. You can’t really be sad about it, you have to move onto the next game.”
Oklahoma State outrebounded Oklahoma 49-33 and had 22 second-chance points.
Oklahoma State plays at Kansas on Wednesday. Kansas is in last place in the Big 12.
Oklahoma hosts No. 22 West Virginia on Tuesday. West Virginia won the first meeting 83-73 in Morgantown.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.