1-30-08 - Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale chalked up the latest outing in a baffling stretch of basketball to a simple case of growing pains.
Nyeshia Stevenson scored 15 points, Courtney Paris extended her double-double streak to 79 games and the 11th-ranked Sooners routed Kansas 67-51 on Wednesday night, but it was a 25 in the turnover column that jumped off the stat sheet.
"It's just a continuing progression," Coale said. "We're just so young. You get a lead and feel that cushion and it's really hard to teach yourself to play at the same pace regardless of what's going on. I thought we did that at times and then we didn't at times."
Oklahoma could afford to be sloppy against the Jayhawks (12-8, 1-6 Big 12), who are tied for last place in the Big 12 with Missouri. The Sooners (14-4, 4-2) led by 13 at halftime despite committing 17 turnovers and coasted through the second half without improving much.
A 13-1 run early in the second half put the game away, with Jenna Plumley's 3-pointer extending the Sooners' lead to 50-27. Oklahoma's advantage eventually expanded to as much as 26 points before Kansas started whittling away late.
"It seems like we're in this thing where it's feast or famine," Coale said. "We're either going to not turn it over a lot, we're going to make all our free throws and not make 3s at all or we'll make 3s and we'll turn it over a lot."
The Sooners went 5-for-14 from 3-point range, a modest 36 percent but still an improvement following a 4-for-30 stretch over their previous three games. In their last game against Georgia, Oklahoma went without a 3-pointer for the second time this season. Before those two shutouts, it had been four years since Oklahoma failed to make a 3-pointer in a game.
In exchange, Oklahoma matched its season-high in turnovers -- and everyone was to blame. Nine of the 10 Sooners players committed at least one turnover, with point guard Danielle Robinson leading the way with nine. Only Rose Hammond, who played the final 5 1/2 minutes, didn't turn the ball over.
The sloppy play followed a strong two-game stretch in which the Sooners routed Texas Tech 78-39 and then beat No. 17 Georgia 65-57 and seemed to be getting back on track after suffering two early losses in Big 12 play.
"We're not going to shake it off. There's a lot of little things we can work on," Paris said. "Like coach said earlier, we've got to come out more focused, no matter who we're playing. ... We've got to be able to adjust and just get the work done."
Paris had 10 points and 13 rebounds, but needed until there was only 4:37 remaining to reach double figures in points with a pair of free throws. The reigning AP player of the year came out of the game on the next deadball.
"I thought we crowded her, I thought she rushed at times. I think probably more times than not, she'll finish most of those," Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "You don't have the career she's having by missing a lot of those little ones right around the rim. ... I think we'll take some of the credit. I don't think we can take all of the credit."
Paris' twin sister, Ashley Paris, and Amanda Thompson also scored 10 points apiece.
Danielle McCray scored 13 points to lead Kansas, which matched Oklahoma in the turnover column and lost to the Sooners for the 10th straight time. Krysten Boogaard added 11 points and Chakeitha Weldon scored 10 off the bench.
Oklahoma started pulling away with a 9-0 run midway through the first half that Plumley capped with a 3-pointer to make it 20-10 and never allowed the within 10 points in the final 26 minutes even with the lackluster play.
"They realize when they don't play up to their potential and they come back and work on it," Coale said, "and that's how we keep getting better."