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SPORTS: University of Oklahoma

Depth, Foul Problems Plague Sooners In Loss To West Virginia

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MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -

Despite playing games with eight healthy scholarship players since December, the Oklahoma Sooners hadn't lost a game yet this season where depth was the main reason behind the loss.

That was, until Sunday's game at West Virginia.

Plagued by foul trouble and cold shooting from its key offensive players, the Sooners succumbed to a deeper and more aggressive West Virginia team Sunday afternoon, 82-63.

The Sooners shot just 34.9 percent from the field, including a woeful 5-for-22 performance from 3-point distance, a category the Sooners entered the game ranked second in the country. Oklahoma was also plagued by a 5-for-17 performance from leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg.

Morgan Hook and Joanna McFarland led the Sooners with 14 points each. McFarland also tied a career-high with 16 rebounds, despite being saddled with foul trouble for much of the game.

Ellenberg and Nicole Griffin each added 12 points for OU.

West Virginia had four players in double figures, led by Christal Caldwell's 24 points. Bria Holmes added 17 while Jess Harlee chipped in with 12.

The Sooners started the game with a hot shooting hand from the field. Ellenberg showed no lingering effects from a sprained ankle suffered Wednesday night against TCU, scoring six of OU's first 11 points in an 11-3 run that forced WVU to call a timeout just three and a half minutes into the game.

Hook continued her aggressive play of late, taking a WVU miss coast-to-coast and finished with the left hand to extend OU's lead to 18-7 with 12:32 remaining in the half to force another Mountaineers timeout.

McFarland started the game well, hitting two 3-pointers and grabbing nine rebounds in the first 10 minutes, but committed her second foul with 10:19 remaining in the half and had to sit. With McFarland on the bench, the Mountaineers began to make a run.

After a jumper from Hook made the score 22-11 in favor of OU, West Virginia went on a 12-1 run to tie the score at 23. Holmes scored eight points during the run, while Caldwell scored the other four points for West Virginia.

After tying the score, Caldwell continued the Mountaineers' onslaught, scoring seven straight points to give WVU a 30-23 lead with 1:54 remaining in the half. Meanwhile, the Sooners were ice-cold from the field, missing 10 consecutive field goals after Hook's jumper. Hook ended the seven-minute drought with a layup, but Ayanna Dunning hit a jumper at the halftime buzzer to send WVU to the locker room up 34-27.

In the second half, the Mountaineers continued to extend its lead, opening up a 12-point lead at 52-40 on a 3-pointer from Holmes after fighting off an early OU rally. The Sooners cut the lead to seven on two free throws from Sharane Campbell, but that is as close as the Sooners would get. The Mountaineers responded with an 8-0 run to push the lead back to 15, 60-45, with 8:16 remaining.

Oklahoma is on the road again Wednesday night when it travels to Kansas State. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.

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