No. 10 Oklahoma women rout Texas-ArlingtonBy MURRAY EVANS, Associated Press Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. (AP)—After hitting five consecutive 3-pointers in the span of four minutes in the first half on Wednesday against Texas-Arlington, Oklahoma freshman Derica Wyatt passed up a couple of open looks, which left coach Sherri Coale mystified.
“Had someone thrown it to me and I was 5-of-5, I could have been triple-teamed and I would have shot it,” Coale said before turning to speak to Wyatt in the postgame news conference. “When that’s flowing, sister, keep firing.
“She’s the kind of shooter that every time she shoots it, I turn and look the other way, because I’m just pretty sure it’s going in.”
It was that kind of night for Wyatt, who scored 23 points and hit 7-of-11 3-point attempts to lift No. 10 Oklahoma to a 99-46 romp over Texas-Arlington.
Aaryn Ellenberg scored 24 points and went 4-of-12 from 3-point range, with her first 3-pointer of the game giving her 300 for her career. But she was upstaged by Wyatt, a freshman who didn’t even play in the Sooners’ two most recent games, against Gonzaga and Louisville.
Wyatt, who entered the game 1-of-5 this season from behind the arc, didn’t miss on five 3-point attempts in the first half as Oklahoma (4-1) built a 52-19 lead over Texas-Arlington (0-5).
“After the first one, I was breathing a sigh of relief,” Wyatt said. “Yeah, it felt good.”
Oklahoma, which entered the game shooting 24 percent from 3-point range, finished 14-of-33 (42 percent) against the Mavericks. The Sooners shot 48 percent overall.
“Yesterday, coach Coale made a comment in practice that we just need to go out there and play basketball and not think about our threes, so that’s what I did,” Wyatt said. “I just went out there to shoot, because I knew that we needed that.”
Briana Walker led Texas-Arlington with 13 points while Laila Suleiman and Desherra Nwanguma scored 12 each and Tahlia Pope had six points and 14 rebounds. The Mavericks, in their first season in the Sun Belt Conference, committed 34 turnovers.
Despite an overtime loss to No. 5 Louisville on Sunday in the Preseason WNIT title game, Oklahoma moved into the top 10 this week for the first time since the 2010-11 preseason poll. Wednesday’s game figured to be a mere pit stop in between the Preseason WNIT and a date at UCLA on Sunday, which will be a rematch of a second-round NCAA tournament game from last season, won 85-72 by the Sooners.
“I think you find out a lot about your team in the 40 minutes that follow a loss,” Coale said. “I think we found out that our team is pretty tough and pretty mature and the approach to things is pretty much on track.”
The result never was in doubt. Oklahoma sprinted to a 10-0 lead over the Mavericks in the first 3 1/2 minutes. Along the way, Morgan Hook scored her 1,000th career point, becoming the 28th Oklahoma player to do so. Ellenberg’s landmark 3-pointer at the 16-minute mark made it 13-3.
Texas-Arlington was within 18-10 after seven straight points by Suleiman but Oklahoma went on a 25-2 run, which Wyatt capped with her five straight 3-pointers.
“We know they’re a great 3-point shooting team,” Texas-Arlington coach Krista Gerlich said. “But in their first four games, Ellenberg’s probably been the only one that’s really shot it well. So we were picking that poison. And good for Wyatt. That was a great teaching moment for us, as far as Wyatt coming in and maybe that’s the first time she’s gotten some quality minutes and she took full advantage of it.”
Wyatt was a three-time Miss Basketball honoree in the prep ranks in Tennessee, where she was known as a 3-point ace, but few could have foreseen her outburst Wednesday. She went 1-of-5 from behind the arc in 11 minutes in a season-opening win over Stetson and didn’t manage a 3-point attempt during a five-minute stint in a win over Wichita State.
Coale seemed as pleased with the other aspects of Wyatt’s performance besides her shooting.
“While you guys were all going `Wow’ about her making threes, she was jumping to the ball and she was on the pack line and doing those things that we have to see her be able to do so she gets more minutes,” Coale said. “It was a really good night for her in ways behind making seven threes.”
Against Texas-Arlington, Wyatt finished 8-of-13 from the field as the Sooners led by as many as 57 points in the second half.
Ellenberg’s performance was more predictable, since she entered the game averaging 20.3 points. She now has 303 career 3-pointers and is chasing the NCAA Division I career record of 392, held by Laurie Koehn of Kansas State.
Nicole Griffin added 13 points for Oklahoma while Kaylon Williams had 10 points. Oklahoma committed only nine turnovers.