No. 3 Oklahoma 65, Oklahoma St. 48

Thursday, January 10th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ On a night when its offense wasn't up to par, the Oklahoma women's basketball team won with defense.

The usually high-scoring Sooners scored just 65 points Wednesday night, eight fewer than their previous low this season. But they held Oklahoma State to a season-low as well and won 65-48.

``I don't think you'll get through the entire 16 games in the Big 12 Conference and have great offensive play for 16 nights,'' coach Sherri Coale said. ``The reason you're able to win Big 12 championships are because you defend people and you rebound.

``Offense comes and goes. It'll be there some and won't be there some. The great consistency has to be in defending and rebounding, and those have been good areas for us.''

The Sooners (13-1, 3-0 Big 12) held Oklahoma State to 29 percent shooting and outrebounded the Cowgirls by 10. The point total was Oklahoma State's lowest in 25 games, dating to a 76-47 loss to Oklahoma on Feb. 10 of last year.

``If you would have told me we could hold them to 65, I would have probably been happy with that,'' coach Dick Halterman said. ``We had some good looks, but their defense also forced us into taking some tough shots.

``I said before the game we had to shoot 50 percent and we weren't even close to that.''

LaNeishea Caufield scored 18 points and Stacey Dales had 16 for the Sooners, who have won 17 straight regular-season conference games and have beaten the Cowgirls (9-6, 1-1) five straight times.

``We play defense like that all the time,'' said Caufield, who also had eight rebounds and two steals. ``I think just because we weren't shooting as well, our defense really stood out.''

Caufield had two 3-pointers and scored eight straight points during a first-half run in which the Sooners outscored Oklahoma State 19-2 to take a 31-13 lead. Dales added seven points during that stretch.

Oklahoma State was 1-of-14 during the Sooners' run and committed five turnovers.

``We had a little problem getting into our offensive sets,'' said Tari Cummings, who led the Cowgirls with 18 points. ``We were out there just running around, basically. I don't know, we just have to work on that in practice.''

The Cowgirls scored the first two baskets of the second half to cut Oklahoma's lead to 33-21. But a 10-2 run by the Sooners, including four points by Caufield, made it a 20-point lead. The Sooners twice led by as many as 23 and Oklahoma State got no closer than 15 in the final seven minutes.

Caton Hill had 11 points and nine rebounds for Oklahoma, which won handily despite 21 turnovers.

Kara Faulk was the only other Cowgirl in double figures, with 10 points. Center Trisha Skibbe, coming off a career-high 26 points against Missouri, had six points on 2-of-12 shooting.