Originally Published: Jan 9, 2010 4:58 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- The Sooners struggled against a start-and-go tempo spurred on by excessive turnovers, as they managed to edge out the Texas Tech Red Raiders 73-58 in their Big 12 conference opener.
Despite the Big 12’s two most successful women’s basketball programs opening conference play, the game was full of turnovers-- 42 to be exact.
The Sooners faced an experienced Tech team, led by three starting seniors-- Jordan Murphree, Tilmila Martin and Ashlee Roberson.
The Sooners shot the ball well in the first half, with Nyeshia Stevenson scoring 9 points and Abi Olajuwon scoring 8 for the Sooners. Although their shots were landing, OU limited their ability to score by turning the ball over 14 times by halftime.
The Red Raiders also played sloppy, matching the Sooners’ turnovers with 14 of their own.
Sooners head coach Sherri Coale said just before halftime she was not satisfied by the Sooners’ lack of blocking out. Her team came out in the second half showing stronger rebounding and sharper passing.
OU struggled in the second half offensively, as they tried to find their rhythm but was about to find that tempo with constantly pressuring the Texas Tech defense with penetrating, quick plays. They held the lead throughout the second half, thanks in part to the Red Raiders’ foul trouble.
The Sooners have changed their offensive strategy significantly from last season after the loss of the Paris twins. Instead of focusing on strong posts, Coale has switched to guard-oriented offense with Danielle Robinson and Stevenson. The Sooners also had to add the loss of guard Whitney Hand into the equation. She tore her ACL, ending her season for the Sooners.
Thompson, Robinson and Stevenson were a force against the Red Raiders, scoring a combined 43 points.
OU’s Olajuwon had 12 points and six rebounds, Stevenson ended with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Thompson scored 17 points and had 6 assists.
Texas Tech’s Martin finished the day with 14 points, Monique Smalls lead the Red Raiders with four assists and Kierra Mallard scored 14 points with six rebounds.
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