Norman — Here they go again.
For the fourth time this season, the Oklahoma women will play host to an unbeaten and ranked foe.
The Sooners beat then-No. 25 Gonzaga, fell in overtime to No. 7 Louisville and fell to No. 3 Duke. But today is different because it’s Iowa State, a conference foe, and if OU (10-4, 1-0 Big 12) wants to be a player in the Big 12 race the conference coaches chose the Sooners to win, it’s just the kind of game that must be won.
And, to do it, OU will have to prevail upon a band of Cyclones that’s very much like every band of Cyclones that’s ever come through Norman, only, perhaps, better.
Iowa State (12-0, 1-0) is averaging 80.7 points per game and only allowing 56.2 points per game, and is even doing it with a young squad, starting two freshmen in off-guard Jadda Buckley and small forward Seanna Johnson, both of which are averaging double figures, while the Cyclones are being led by center Hallie Christofferson, a 6-3 center, who does plenty of her damage from the outside, averaging 20.8 points per outing.
“They’re a really good team,” OU point guard Morgan Hook said. “Every single person can score, and I think they’re on a mission this year and they all play so well together. All of them understand the game and they work hard.”
Fans shouldn’t have any trouble recognizing Iowa State’s brand of basketball.
“Every year you know what kind of team Bill (Fennelly) is going to put on the floor,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “They’re going to shoot more 3s than 2s. They’re going to scout-team defend you; that is they’re going to try to take away our strengths and try to make you play to your weaknesses, and they rebound rabidly ... and that puts them in every possession.”
The Sooners may finally be in building mode. They’re coming off their Big 12 opener, a 66-38 victory at Texas Tech that was significant for coming on the road, for OU’s shooting 61.9 percent (26 of 42) for the game and, maybe most importantly, for leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg having a very good night.
After missing OU’s non-conference closer, against Samford, with a concussion, Ellenberg made 7 of 9 shots and all three of her 3-point tries against the Lady Raiders.