The theme for this season’s first Bedlam matchup happened within the opening minute.
Oklahoma’s Liz Scott was fouled on a layup just 17 seconds into the game, sending her to the free throw line. She made both attempts, putting the first two points on the board for either team.
It was a telling preview for the rest of the game.
The junior forward was a constant presence in the paint and at the free throw line, attempting a game-high 12 shots from the charity stripe. She made 10, which played a big role in her career-high 22 points.
Scott led all players in scoring while adding six rebounds, two blocks and a steal, as the Sooners steamrolled Oklahoma State 84-58 Wednesday.
The Houston native credited her career night to teammate Madi Williams, who told Scott she was looking to get her involved early on offense. Williams finished the game with 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
“I think [I was] just being aggressive and not thinking too much about, ‘Should I shoot? Should I pass?’’ Scott said. “ I was just playing and I think my teammates really helped me with good passes and helped me get good, open looks.”
With how the Sooners were being defended, Scott’s big night was crucial.
The Cowgirls made an effort to limit perimeter shots from Taylor Robertson and Williams. It was effective, as the Sooners made just 5-of-16 shots from behind the arc, five fewer makes than their season average for 3-pointers in a game.
The Sooners responded by attacking the rim and it worked. They finished with 46 points in the paint and made 20-of-33 layup attempts.
For OU coach Jennie Baranczyk, Scott’s performance is an example of the Sooners’ offensive versatility.
“I think what makes this team special is that we’re a team, and [on] different nights different people step up,” Baranczyk said. “We’ve talked a lot about Liz being able to really establish some of that game in the paint, period. Not just for this game, and not just because of other people’s game plans, but because she’s very capable and I think all season, in the last probably month or so, we’ve really started to see her take some steps. I think tonight was a fun little motivation for her.”
The Sooners dominated the game from the jump, taking a 26-15 lead to the end of the first quarter and a 42-28 lead into halftime.
The Cowgirls attempted a run after halftime, opening the third quarter on an 8-0 run. But the Sooners responded with a 10-1 run, and they led by double digits the rest of the way.
“They came out and they threw the first punch,” Baranczyk said. “And that’s something that we need to do a better job in terms of coming out and being ready. and at the same time, I feel like we did a really nice job of being able to manage it and handle it and to be able to turn it.”
Starting point guard Kelbie Washington also made her return after a three-game absence and came off the bench for the first time in her collegiate career. She gave the team a boost, scoring six points while adding two rebounds, six assists and four steals.
She also finished with a 40 plus-minus, which led her team.
“She brings such a fun energy,” Baranczyk said. “She’s so fast and she sets people up and she just has an energy about her that’s so fun.
“This team, we want everybody back and it’s really special. and we know that we can challenge each other, but we know that we are as strong as we all are. and that to me makes the mark of a great, great team, but what also makes the mark of a great team is to be able to bounce back after a tough [loss to Kansas State]. and I thought we did that. and I think Kelbie is a huge part of that, just her energy.”
The Sooners prepare for another home rivalry game against Texas at 2 p.m. Saturday.