Oklahoma basketball: Takeaways from a title-clincher and a Sooner stinker


Oklahoma basketball teams and their fans experienced the proverbial joy of victory and the agony of defeat all in the same day on Wednesday.

The Sooner women took a page out of their male counterpart's game-winning play from last weekend with Lexy Keys draining a game-winning three-point dagger with four seconds remaining on the game clock to pull the rug out from under No. 3-ranked Texas and claim a dramatic 71-70 win.

The victory, OU's ninth without a loss at home this season against Big 12 opponents, not only swept the regular-season series with the Lady Longhorns but clinched the Big 12 Championship and earned the Sooners the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament. It is the second straight year the OU women (21-7, 15-2) have won the regular-season crown in basketball and the team's eighth as a member of the Big 12.

It is the second straight year the OU women have won the regular-season crown in basketball and the team's eighth as a member of the Big 12.

Later on Wednesday, in Ames, Iowa, Oklahoma and Iowa State were engaged in either the best defensive performance or worst display of shooting proficiency by either team this season. Normally if you hold an opponent to 33 precent shooting for an entire game, it is good enough to come away with a win. But not if you shoot just 28 percent, which is what Oklahoma did in a 58-45 loss to No. 8-ranked Iowa State.

It was easily Oklahoma's lowest point total and worst shooting performance of the season. The Sooners' previous season low on the scoreboard was 57 points in a 67-57 loss to Kansas. OU's two leading scorers on the season (Javian McCollum and Otega Oweh) combined for just 10 points as no one who saw action for the Sooners scored in double figures.

Eight minutes in the opening half had elapsed before either team reached double figures. Trailing most of the first half, Oklahoma took its first lead on a field goal by redshirt-freshman Luke Northweather that put the Sooners' up 18-16 with 6:33 to go. Thirty seconds later, OU extended the lead to 20-16, but those were the final points scored by the Sooners before halftime. Iowa State scored the final nine points to take a 25-20 lead into the break.

Oklahoma would never get closer than two points (early in the second half) the rest of the way as the Cyclones controlled the second half, leading by double-digits for most of it. The Sooners are now 19-9 overall and drop below .500 to 7-8 in the Big 12 with a date at home hosting No. 1 Houston on Saturday

Three takeaways from the OU women's Big 12 title-clinching win

  • Texas led most of the way and were up 60-54 heading into the fourth quarter. The Lady Longhorns led 70-68 and had the ball when Madison Booker was called for traveling, giving the ball to OU with 26 seconds to go. Skylar Vann missed a layup opportunity with 10 seconds remaining but got her own rebound and got the ball out to Keys, who nailed the game-winning shot from the corner with just four seconds to go. OU outscored Texas 17-10 in the fourth quarter.
  • Lexy Keys, who transferred from Oklahoma State, scored 16 points for the Sooners, but none more critical than the three-pointer to end the game. Louisville transfer Payton Verhulst led OU with 18 points.
  • The Sooners tightened up the defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Longhorns to just two field goals in 13 shot attempts (15.4 percent), aiding the Oklahoma comeback.

Three takeaways from the loss by the Sooner men at Iowa State

  • Iowa State won the rebounding battle 40-35, including 15 offensive rebounds that led to 14 second-chance points. The Cyclones scored 30 of their 58 points in the paint and got 32 points from the bench. The Sooners got only 13 points from their reserves.
  • Senior Rivaldo Soares, a transfer from Oregon, got his first start of the season against Iowa State. He scored nine points (3 of 6) after scoring a team-high 20 in Oklahoma's win last weekend over Oklahoma State. Redshirt-freshman Luke Northweather recorded a season-high seven points for the Sooners.
  • The Iowa State win avenged a 71-63 loss to Oklahoma earlier in the season. Short of a matchup in the forthcoming Big 12 Tournament, this may have been the final meeting between the two longtime conference foes. Wednesday night's game was the 217th in the series. OU leads the overall series 123-94.