Gioya Carter’s career high leads Oklahoma to Big 12 win over Mountaineers


Big 12 always brings out the truth of your team they say. For the Oklahoma Sooners (7-5, 1-0), they saw the emergence of Gioya Carter. The sophomore from Midwest City, Okla. continued her new found offensive skills to help Oklahoma to a 71-60 victory over West Virginia (11-3, 0-1) on Sunday afternoon.

Oklahoma improves to 5-0 at home and opens Big 12 play 1-0 for the tenth straight season. Their last Big 12 opener loss was 70-64 at Texas Tech in 2005.

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Carter finished with a career high of 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting. She pulled down eight rebounds in 24 minutes.

Sherri Coale’s defense was like the old man who told Oliver Twist he couldn’t have any more food. Their defense was staunch and held the Mountaineers scoreless for almost five minutes. The Sooners didn’t allow a field goal until the 1:19 mark of the second half. That stretched the defensive stand to over five minutes.

With Big 12 Player of the Year nominee Bria Holmes held to just two points for a majority of the first half, the Sooners capitalized.

They took their largest lead behind the play of Gioya Carter at 31-20 with 4:40 left in the half.

However, Oklahoma led just 34-32 at halftime. The West Virginia Mountaineers showed why they were a preseason favorite to win the Big 12. They battled back tough. They closed the half on a 12-3 run, led by a turnover prone Sooners squad.

The run that West Virginia went on lasted 4:32. Oklahoma did not score the final 3:12 of that.

West Virginia stretched the run out to 18-3 into the second half, taking the 36-34 lead early.

There were quite a bit of lead changes after West Virginia took the lead. Carter took over midway through the first half. She had a turn around jumper and Kaylon Williams fought off a defender, pulled down a rebound and found the putback.

After a Williams Free throw, it capped off a 8-2 Sooners run, Oklahoma led 53-48 with 10:53 remaining.

Peyton Little, the Texas A&M transfer made her precense known in the second half. While it wasn’t necessarily just in scoring. Her defense was spot on. Her steal with 4:34 remaining led to a T’ona Edwards lay up, putting Oklahoma up 66-55.

Sharane Campbell-Olds had 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Kaylon Williams had 13 points, despite having foul trouble in the first half. Edwards had eight points off the bench for the Sooners.

Oklahoma, a team that primarily doesn’t rely on their 3-point shooting for offense, found some in Carter. She had just two 3-pointers coming into today’s contest. She nailed two int he first half. The Sooners shot 35.3 percent from 3-point range in the victory.

With win over West Virginia, Oklahoma will now travel to Lawrence, Kan. for a 7 p.m. tip off at Allen Field house against the Kansas Jayhawks (9-5, 0-1). Kansas lost to No. 3 ranked Texas 60-46 on Sat., Jan. 3.