Oklahoma basketball: OU women cap non-con with trip to No. 1 UConn

SAN ANTONIO - APRIL 04: Forward Carlee Roethlisberger
SAN ANTONIO - APRIL 04: Forward Carlee Roethlisberger /

While the men’s Oklahoma basketball team was performing some shock and awe against third-ranked Wichita State on Saturday, the Sooner women were storming to a 42-point demolition of undefeated New Mexico.

The Lady Sooners get another crack at an undefeated team on Tuesday night, but this time the game is on the road and against undefeated and No. 1-ranked Connecticut Huskies in the Women’s Holiday Classic.

UConn, which seemingly is ranked at the top of the women’s rankings every year, will be a huge undertaking for Sherri Coale’s 5-5 Oklahoma squad, especially having to go on the road, where the Sooners are just 1-4 this season away from Lloyd Noble Center. The Lady Huskies are 10-0 all-time against Oklahoma.

Oklahoma will need another superlative shooting performance like it had in shooting 47.1 percent from the field in rolling up a 105-63 victory over New Mexico if it wants to stay in the game against the top-ranked and highly talented Huskies.

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True freshman Ana Llanusa recorded a career-high 27 points in the win over New Mexico and senior Gabi Ortiz was right behind her, adding 25, including seven made three-pointers. Llanusa’s 27-point outburst was the most by an Oklahoma freshman in a nonconference game since Aaryn Ellenberg put in 31 at Ohio State in 2010, and earned her the honor of Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.

Llanusa leads the Big 12 in scoring among freshman with a 12.4 average through 10 games. Her teammate, Shaina Pellington, is second in the conference in freshman scoring (11.9).

The Sooners have broken even through 10 games, but three of those games have been against ranked teams. The OU women have played the fifth most difficult schedule in NCAA Division I women’s basketball so far this season, according to RealTimeRPI.com. They lost to then-No. 20 DePaul and No. 10 Oregon, but defeated No. 16 University of South Florida.

Junior Katie Lou Samuelson leads UConn (8-0) in scoring with a 17.8 average. She has missed the last four games, but is expected to be back in the lineup against the Sooners. Senior Kia Nurse is averaging 15.4 a game and is third in the nation in three-point percentage (.550). The Lady Huskies are averaging 87.8 points a game on the offensive end, and are shooting better than 50 percent as a team (.517) and 41 percent from behind the three-point line.

Oklahoma has been on a hot streak of its own the last two games. The Lady Sooners averaged 92.0 points a game and 49.6 shooting in back-to-back wins over USF an New Mexico.

On a side note: A UConn victory over OU would give veteran Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma his 1,000 career win.