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Sooners Face Road Test at No. 21 USF

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21/21 South Florida

Nov. 18 | 1 p.m. | Tampa, Fla.

SUNDAY’S GAME BASICS

Oklahoma and South Florida meet for the second straight season as the Sooners and Bulls face off on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. The Sooners defeated then No. 16 USF, 79-74, inside Lloyd Noble Center last season. OU is off to a 2-0 start after defeating Northwestern State, 93-56, on Thursday night at home. The Bulls enter Sunday’s matchup with a 3-0 record after topping Bethune-Cookman, 88-39, on Thursday inside the Yuengling Center

ON THE AIR

Sunday’s game will be streamed live on BullsVision through GoUSFBulls.com. The contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network with Taylor Maples calling the action.


FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

• Oklahoma opens a five-game road swing against No. 21/21 South Florida on Sunday. The Sooners won the previous matchup between the two teams last season with a 79-74 victory over then No. 16 USF in Norman. A win for the Sooners would mark their first true road win against a ranked non-conference opponent since the 2006-07 season (OU defeated No. 22 Michigan State, 66-55, in East Lansing on Dec. 16, 2006).

• Sophomore guard Shaina Pellington leads all Big 12 players and ranks third nationally with 28.5 points per game this season. Pellington set the program record for points in a season opener, scoring 33 points last Friday against Western Kentucky. The sophomore led the Sooners with 24 points in Thursday’s win over Northwestern State.

• Despite having a lack of height on its roster, the Sooners have been one of the nation’s best rebounding teams during the first week of the 2018-19 season. OU ranks first in Division I in defensive reboudning (39.0) and is second nationally in rebounds per game (58.0). Freshman Madi Williams leads all Division I freshmen and ranks seventh nationally in rebounds per game with 15.0 rebounds per contest.

• Freshman guard Taylor Robertson has knocked down 14 3-pointers through the first two games of the season and ranks first nationally with 7.0 3-pointers per game. Robertson ranks second on the team with 22.0 points per game and finished with 20 points, five assists and four rebounds against Northwestern State.

• The Sooners earned their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance last season and tied for third place with an 11-7 mark in the Big 12. The Sooners return two starters from last year’s squad: sophomore guard Ana Llanusa (12.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and sophomore guard Shaina Pellington (13.1 ppg, 2.2 apg). Pellington was the 2018 Big 12 Freshman of the Year and both players were selected to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team along with earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selections.


GAME TWO RECAP: NORTHWESTERN STATE

• Four Sooners scored in double figures led by sophomore Shaina Pellington’s 24 points as Oklahoma downed Northwestern State, 93-56, inside Lloyd Noble Center Thursday night. Pellington finished 11-of-21 from the field in 24 minutes of action, picking up her second straight game with at 20-plus points.

• Freshman guard Taylor Robertson poured in 20 points in her first career start as a Sooner, giving OU two 20-point scorers for the second game in a row. The McPherson, Kan. native finished 6-for-12 from beyond the arc, dished five assists and added one steal in the victory. Robertson’s 14 3-pointers are the second-most by a Sooner in consecutive games in program history. Freshman guard Jessi Murcer provided quality minutes off the bench, scoring a career-high 18 points in her OU debut. Murcer was 6-of-11 from the field, pulled in four rebounds and recorded two assists. Sophomore forward Mandy Simpson set a career-high with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting and added seven rebounds.

• Freshman Madi Williams collected a team-high 15 rebounds against the Lady Demons. Williams is the first Sooner to recorded 30 total rebounds in back-to-back to open a season since Courtney Paris in 2005-06. The Sooners led by 21 at halftime, outscoring the Lady Demons 45-24 and shooting 52 percent from the field. OU held NSU to a .300 clip in the first half and just a .188 percentage in the second half. OU finished with 21 assists as Williams and Robertson led the way with five assists apiece.

• The Sooners limited NSU to a .239 field goal percentage on 16-of-67 shooting while holding the Lady Demons to 7-of-30 (.233) from 3-point range. OU dominated in the paint, 48-12, and won the rebounding battle by a 63-28 margin, the first time since 2005 that the Sooners posted a 35-plus rebound margin in a game.


• South Florida is off to a 3-0 start for the third consecutive year. The Bulls opened the 2018-19 season with a 71-47 win at Ohio State and have limited all three of their opponents to under 50 points in each game this year. USF ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense, holding its foes to 41.0 points per game. j

• USF will be without the services of All-America senior guard Kitija Laksa, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury during Thursday’s win over Bethune-Cookman. Laksa was a preseason Naismith and Wooden Award candidate.

• Senior guard Laura Ferreira averages 16.0 points per game, while freshman guard Sydni Harvey and freshman center Beatriz Jordao are both averaging 11.3 points a contest.

• The Bulls are led by 19th-year head coach Jose Fernandez. Fernandez has led the Bulls to six consecutive 20-win seasons and four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Shaina Pellington

Shaina Pellington leads the Big 12 in scoring at 28.5 points per game.

ROBERTSON HONORED BY THE BIG 12

• Taylor Robertson earned Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Week honors after scoring 24 points and picking up six rebounds off the bench in OU’s victory over WKU. Robertson’s eight 3-pointers set an OU single-game record for a freshman, besting the previous mark of seven held by Morgan Hook (Stephen F. Austin, 2010-11) and Derica Wyatt (UT-Arlington, 2013-14).

• Robertson’s eight treys were one shy of tying the OU single-game record. The McPherson, Kan., native is just one of six players to make eight or more 3-pointers in a single game since 2000.

• Robertson continued her hot start from beyond the arc with six 3-pointers against Northwestern State on Thursday, finishing with 20 points, five assists and four rebounds.


THE TRIPLE THREAT

• Sophomore guard Shaina Pellington spent the offseason improving her range from the outside. The hard work has paid off as Pellington scored a career-high 33 points in the season opener against WKU. Pellington’s 33 points are the most by a Sooner in a season opener in program history. The sophomore’s 33 points are the most points scored by a Big 12 player so far this season and are tied for 16th all-time on OU’s single-game scoring list.

• Pellington earned her ninth 20-point scoring game of her career, finishing with 24 points on 11-of-21 shooting versus Northwestern State. She currently leads the Big 12 with 28.5 points per game and ranks third nationally in scoring average.


FILLING THE STAT SHEET

• Freshman guard/forward Madi Williams recorded an eye-popping stat line in last Friday’s win over WKU. Williams picked up her first career double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds, while also leading OU with four assists and three blocks.

• Williams joins Courtney Paris as the only OU freshman in school history to have at least 15 points, 15-rebound, four-assist and three-block game. Paris accomplished the feat on Jan. 18, 2006 at Texas Tech in her 18th game (17 points, 19 rebounds, seven blocks and four assists). Williams has 30 total rebounds through two the first two games of the season, the most by an OU player since Paris picked up 30 rebounds to begin the 2005-06 season.


UP NEXT

• OU takes on UAB in the first game of the Junkanoo Jam on Thursday at 4:15 p.m. CT in Bimini, Bahamas.

For more information on Oklahoma women’s basketball, follow the Sooners on Twitter (@OU_WBBall) or like Oklahoma Sooners Women’s Basketball on Facebook.



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