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Sooners riding new momentum into return to LNC

Jan. 27—Two weeks ago, Oklahoma's women's basketball team made its return to the Lloyd Noble Center needing a bounce-back win to keep the season on track.

The Sooners went on to steamroll Texas Tech in a game that appeared to be a positive sign for the team's trajectory. Three games and 14 days later, the Sooners return to their home court with plenty of reasons for optimism.

Not only are the Sooners riding a three-game winning streak, they're coming off a massive road win over No. 10 Texas on Wednesday.

They'll look to make it four straight when Kansas comes to town on Saturday for a 6 p.m. tipoff on ESPN+.

The Jayhawks were projected to be on the rise coming into the season after winning the WNIT Championship last year. They were voted third in the preseason Big 12 standings but haven't lived up to that ranking so far this season.

After going 7-4 through a tough non-conference schedule, the Jayhawks have already dropped conference games to West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Texas and Kansas State. Still, they knocked off both Baylor and Oklahoma State at home.

The biggest issues for the Jayhawks this season has been getting out of the gates.

They're being outscored 121-105 in the first quarter this season and 143-111 in the second quarter. When they trail after the first quarter, they've gone 4-7 and are 6-2 when leading at the first break.

Kansas only ranks in the top 100 in two major statistics this season — field goal percentage (74th nationally) and turnovers (53rd nationally).

The Sooners rank in the top 10 nationally in assists per game (sixth), fast break points per game (fourth) and bench points per game (eighth). They're also 31st in paint points per game and 58th in 3-pointers made per game.

With a win, the Sooners would improve to 7-1 in Big 12 play for the first time under head coach Jennie Baranczyk. The last time the Sooners started 7-1 in conference play was the 2014-15 season.

Kansas State is undefeated in Big 12 play and West Virginia and Iowa State are right behind the Sooners with two losses.

If the Sooners can walk away with a win over the Jayhawks, it'll set up a showdown with the Wildcats next Wednesday.

Tarik Masri is the sports editor for The Transcript covering OU athletics and area sports. You can reach him by emailing tarik@normantranscript.com