Hot-shooting Oklahoma women take down KU, 75-57

Kansas guard Monica Engelman, center, attempts to get past Oklahoma guard Whitney Hand, right, and Oklahoma guard Jasmine Hartman, left, during Kansas’ game against Oklahoma on Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse. The Sooners defeated the Jayhawks, 75-57.

When Kansas University’s women’s basketball team needed a basket the most, there wasn’t anyone wearing a blue uniform who could knock it down.

The team wearing red, 14th-ranked Oklahoma, had three players who were more than capable.

Behind a barrage of outside shooting, the Sooners blasted the Jayhawks, 75-57, on Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

Aaryn Ellenberg (28 points, 6-of-10 three-pointers) and Whitney Hand (21 points, 3-of-6 three-pointers) were near unstoppable outside, and when they weren’t hitting, senior Danielle Robinson (12 points) was.

“It felt good, I’m not going to lie,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “The game is just so much easier (when you make shots); every pass, you trust yourself in transition more. It takes a lot of pressure off, and it just changes the way you feel.”

The Sooners (15-3 overall, 5-0 Big 12), who won their previous three games despite shooting around the 30-percent mark, made 50.8 percent of their shots Sunday, including 50 percent of their threes.

“There were too many that were uncontested,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “But even the contested ones, those two kept focused and knocked them down.”

The Jayhawks (14-5, 1-4) were only 2-for-7 from behind the arc.

Bolstered by the hot shooting of Ellenberg and Hand, the Sooners went on two lengthy first-half runs that put them up 43-26 at the half.

Ellenberg had 21 points at the break and made all five of her threes, and Hand had 16 points of her own. Both looked unshakeable even with a defending hand in their face.

“I really feel like we’ve got good enough shooters as to where it doesn’t matter,” Hand said.

Coale felt a sense of where the game was headed once the first few threes went down.

“It doesn’t take long,” Coale said. “If (Ellenberg) hits one, look out.”

Sophomore Carolyn Davis led KU with 16 points and seven rebounds, and sophomore guard Angel Goodrich chipped in with nine, but the disparity in outside shooting heavily favored the Sooners.

“It did seem like they were making every single shot,” Goodrich said.

Kansas showed plenty of fight in the second half. The Jayhawks picked up the pace defensively, attacked the basket and on several occasions whittled the lead to as few as 10 points.

But every time it seemed the Jayhawks might keep chipping away, the Sooners had an answer.

“It was tough,” Davis said. “It’s a momentum killer when you get the bucket and they come back down and score.”

Many of the run-ending shots were courtesy of Robinson, who torched KU with a smooth, midrange jumper once Ellenberg and Hand had cooled off.

“That’s where the team has to know who their go-to guy is,” Coale said.

The Jayhawks have yet to defeat the Sooners under coach Bonnie Henrickson, and now sit tied for last in the Big 12, with two losses coming at the fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks lamented points they left on the floor, which Henrickson estimated at being between 25 to 30 in missed layups and free throws, where KU was only 19-of-32.

“We’re going to kick ourselves in the butts for that,” Davis said.

Missed chances aside, the trio of Ellenberg, Hand and Robinson was simply too much to handle on the outside.

“Every team in the Big 12 is going to have solid guards,” senior Marisha Brown said. “It shouldn’t have been any different tonight.”