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Career-high night from Gray leads Okla. St. over Oklahoma

February 7, 2019

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Heading into their rivalry game called “Bedlam,” Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were each on extended losing streaks and desperately needed a victory.

While both teams had positive stretches, it was Oklahoma State, led by a career-high 33 points from Vivian Gray, that emerged with an 84-74 victory Wednesday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Gray had 21 in the first half and overall connected on 11 of 16 shots, while also knocking down 10 of 11 free throws to record her 11th game this season with 20-plus points.

Jaden Hobbs added 17 points and Latashia Jones almost had a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds for Oklahoma State (13-8, 4-6 Big 12 Conference).

“Really proud of our group, this is a game that both teams really needed,” said Cowgirls coach Jim Littell. “Vivian’s a great player and I thought her movement without the basketball was really good tonight and the spots that she picked to curl into and find openings. We had a lot more people step up and make different contributions. A much-needed win and I’m very happy for our kids.”

Ana Llanusa scored 16 points, Jessi Murcer had 15 points and five assists and Madi Williams scored 14 for Oklahoma (5-16, 1-9), which has now lost nine in a row. The Sooners let a 10-point first quarter lead evaporate.

“I thought we started great and I thought our third quarter was great, but our second and fourth quarters were just dismal and that’s our toughness,” said Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale. “We’re not very tough. I’m really proud of our guys for continuing to fight. At some point, though, we have to be able to play with that sort of abandon and purpose before we’re behind.

“When we jump out to a quick lead, if we just continue nose to grind stone, we’re in a great position, but we let up and then suddenly, here they go and now we’ve got to claw our way back again.”

The Cowgirls led 60-59 after Oklahoma’s Shaina Pellington’s layup with 7:47 remaining, but Hobbs sank back-to-back 3-pointers from the left side to push the OSU advantage to seven. Taylor Robertson’s 3-pointer brought OU back to within 66-62 with 6:58 left, but the Cowgirls scored the next six points and maintained at least a six-point lead the rest of the way.

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma: The Sooners jumped out to big early leads of 8-0 and 12-2 in the game’s first four minutes, connecting on six of their first eight shot attempts, but were unable to sustain that pace. After that, they made just one of their next seven shots as Oklahoma State went on a 12-4 run to pull to within two points with 31 seconds left in the opening quarter. Overall, Oklahoma shot 47.1 percent (8 for 17) in the first period. That opening stretch, as well as a 10-0 run to open the third quarter, showed that the Sooners can play well in spurts, but they are still looking for more consistency.

Oklahoma State: Since scoring a career-high 21 points in 35 minutes of action on Jan. 30 against No. 1 Baylor, Ja’Mee Asberry has totaled just 13 points and two rebounds in 40 combined minutes in the two games since. Asberry was on the court 18 minutes in this one, contributing eight points (on 3-of-8 shooting, 0 of 4 from 3-point range) and one assist.

STAR WATCH

Oklahoma’s leading scorer, freshman guard Taylor Robertson, entered the day averaging 15.4 points per game, and ended up with 11. It was actually just the second time in the last six games that Robertson surpassed double digits in points. She didn’t score her first point until connecting on a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left in the second quarter and didn’t hit her next bucket until 2:08 left in the third. She also had four rebounds before fouling out with 1:20 remaining. “I didn’t think she worked real hard to get available in the first half,” Coale said of Robertson. “Got an early, silly little foul, I didn’t see what happened, and then she got un-aggressive after that.”

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Oklahoma State won the rebounding battle, 44-36, with an identical 22-18 edge in each half. The Cowgirls also wound up with a 22-8 advantage in second chance points. That was a particular emphasis for Oklahoma State after being outrebounded 45-32 by TCU in a 69-55 loss on Sunday.

“We got destroyed on the boards at TCU and their second chance opportunities were a huge factor in the game,” Littell said. “I’ve told our players that you look at the stat line and the team that wins the rebound battle usually wins the game. To me, it’s the most important stat there is.”

UP NEXT

Oklahoma: Home Sunday against Kansas State, which won the first meeting 86-56.

Oklahoma State: At Texas Tech, who entered the day in last place in the Big 12, on Saturday.

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