Shaina Pellington agrees with her coach, that better rhythm is a key to fixing the Oklahoma women’s basketball team’s recent offensive issues.
“If you don’t have rhythm you won’t get the ball in the basket,” Pellington said.
After shooting less than 33 percent from the field in the two games leading into Wednesday’s 7 p.m. meeting at 11th-ranked Texas, the Sooners can achieve more rhythm a number of ways.
But Pellington and OU coach Sherri Coale acknowledged more transition baskets wouldn’t hurt, either.
Most of the Sooners’ scoring comes from guards 6-foot or smaller, which is why Coale committed to an uptempo style of play before this season. But OU’s fast-break offense hasn’t been effective lately.
The Sooners (5-8, 1-1 Big 12) have tallied just six transition points the past two games. In Saturday’s 86-56 loss at Kansas State, OU managed two points on the break and shot 28 percent from the field.
“It’s really important. It’s a big part of our identity. Early on we were really, really good at pushing in transition after a made or missed basket,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “And the last two games we haven’t been good at that at all, which is, obviously it’s Big 12 conference play and teams are well coached and know to get back and they’re disciplined. But we weren’t doing our part to push the envelope either.”
Being more aggressive involves all five players filling lanes on the break, with at least one person running at the rim. Against New Mexico early this season, the Sooners were successful in that area and scored 37 transition points.
Lately, it’s been more difficult.
More forced turnovers would create opportunities, but OU’s struggling to figure things out defensively, sitting last in the Big 12 in scoring (75.9) and field-goal percentage (41.7) defense.
Coale said her staff has broken down games in which some players have gone 30 minutes on the floor without tallying a deflection.
“I mean, that’s a stat that reflects effort and attention and hunger for the basketball,” Coale said. “You can’t be a great defensive team unless you hunger to get that ball back. The goal is not to just hope they miss and get a rebound. The goal is to get that ball back so you can go the other way and we have not hungered with that sense. “
The Sooners could use a go-to perimeter defender, but it’s a job no one has seized yet. Pellington showed promise with two steals for layups that keyed a late rally against Texas Tech last week.
Until OU can force the issue on its own, it must operate out of its half-court offense, where Texas (12-2, 2-0) and anyone else the Sooners play will try to keep them situated at all times.
“It’s everything,” Pellington said. “Pushing the ball up the floor is pretty much 95 percent of our offense. The other five percent is what we do in the half court. What makes us us is we can push the ball with anybody. Any one of us can push the ball up the floor. It’s just a matter of doing that and recognizing if we don’t do those things, we won’t play like us.”
Time/Place: 7 p.m. | Bramlage Coliseum; Manhattan, Kan.
Records/Rankings: OU (5-8, 1-1 Big 12); No. 11/12 Texas (12-2, 2-0)
OU starters: G 32 Tatum Veitenheimer (5-8, Fr./6.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg); G Shaina Pellington (5-7, So./16.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg); G 30 Taylor Robertson (5-7, Fr./17.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg); G/F 25 Madi Williams (6-0, Fr./13.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg); F 3 Mandy Simpson (6-1, So./5.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg).
Texas starters: G 1 Sug Sutton (5-8, Jr./11.4 ppg, 5.9 apg); G 3 Danni Williams (5-10, Gr./10.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg); G 4 Destiny Littleton (5-9, So./9.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg); F 14 Olamide Aborowa (6-3, Sr./4.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg); F 24 Joyner Holmes (6-3, Jr./9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg).
Series: Texas leads, 31-25
TV: Longhorn Network
Radio: KREF-AM 99.3 FM/1400 AM