A stellar team this season in close games, Oklahoma found themselves in another hard-fought game on the road against Kansas on Sunday.
With 7:42 left in the game, the Jayhawks grabbed a bad throw and found Zakiyah Franklin for a mid-range jumper to cut the deficit to one. The senior guard was on fire up to that point, scoring 28 points on 11-16 shooting.
Kansas shot 54% from the field in the first three quarters of the game. The Sooners were riding their own hot night shooting, but needed to make a few key stops down the stretch to keep their streak alive.
Next time on the field, the Sooners found Liz Scott cutting to a field goal to extend the lead to 75-72. The Sooners would allow just three more field goals in the last 7:42 of playing time and the Jayhawks would miss the last nine shots to secure the Sooners’ sixth straight win.
Here are three points from the Sooners’ 86-80 win over Kansas:
1. Finding Ways To Win Close Matches:
The Sooners have been prolific in close games under Baranczyk and Sunday was no different.
With the win over Kansas, Oklahoma moves to 17-3 all-time in games decided by single digits. The only time Oklahoma lost by single digits this season was an 86-78 loss to Iowa State on January 28.
Since that game, the Sooners have gone on a six-game winning streak, including two victories decided by single digits. It was the second time the Sooners had a close win over the Jayhawks this season, winning 80-74 in Norman despite trailing by double-digit points in the first half.
2. Pouring it from the bottom:
Oklahoma finished the day with 10 3-pointers and three different players knocked down more outside shots.
It was the 12th time this season that the Sooners have scored at least 10 points from deep and the sixth time in the last seven games. Ana Llanusa was four-of-five center to finish second on the team with 18 points.
Taylor Robertson was three-of-six from deep to finish with 11 points on the night and Aubrey Joens (12 points) added two more. Madi Williams finished as the team’s leading scorer with 23 points on 8-15 shooting and was one of three from depth.
The Sooners converted 48% of their three balls Sunday and improved to 19-0 by scoring at least 80 points this season.
3. Hard defense down the stretch:
Nothing was falling for the Jayhawks in the fourth quarter as the Sooners held them to 12 points on 31% shooting.
Kansas was 7-15 from behind the arc in the first three quarters but missed six of seven attempts in the final period. Franklin couldn’t keep up the pace she set earlier in the game, ending the fourth quarter with three points on one of two shots.
It was still a career-high day for Franklin, as he finished as the game’s leading scorer with 30 points on 11-17 shooting and six assists. Holly Kersgeiter had 18 points in the first half, but was two-of-nine from the field with 6 points after halftime.
4. Prepare for Saturday’s showdown:
The Sooners are now just one win away from taking first place in the Big 12 standings.
With a conference record of 12-3, #17 Texas will be tied with the Sooners in the Big 12 regular season title race when he faces the Sooners on Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center at 1 p.m.
The Longhorns had little trouble beating West Virginia on Sunday, 74-48, to ensure that Saturday’s game will crown a new top team in the conference standings. Oklahoma fell to Texas, 78-58, in their first meeting in Austin.
Oklahoma has not won a regular season Big 12 conference title since 2009. The winner of Saturday’s game will have a one-game lead in the title race with two games remaining in the regular season.
Afterwards, the Sooners will host Kansas State before traveling to Stillwater to close out the regular season.