Roethlisberger, Stevenson lead Oklahoma past UTADec 4, 2009 - 4:11 AM By MURRAY EVANS Associated Press Writer
NORMAN, Okla.(AP) -- Carlee Roethlisberger had spent her entire college career as a role player, known more for who she was related to than what she'd done on the court.
A few more games like the one she had Thursday night and that could change. The younger sister of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scored a career-high 29 points in her second start and No. 18 Oklahoma used a second-half push to beat Texas-Arlington 100-67.
Nyeshia Stevenson added 21 points, two off her career best, for Oklahoma (5-2), which was playing its first home game since losing standout sophomore guard Whitney Hand to a knee injury. Roethlisberger, a junior who averaged 3.9 points per game last season, replaced Hand in the starting lineup the past two games and has scored in double digits both times.
Against Texas-Arlington (3-4), she went 5 of 11 from 3-point range and grabbed seven rebounds. Was it the sort of performance that could change a career arc? Roethlisberger and coach Sherri Coale both thought so.
"I have been waiting," Roethlisberger said. "I've been practicing hard. Coach has been giving me the go-ahead and all my teammates have been encouraging. No one can replace Whitney. Every one of us has to step out on the floor and do what we can to do our best to fill her spot."
The Sooners trailed late in the first half and led by only one at halftime before starting the second half on a 12-2 run and pulling away from Texas-Arlington the rest of the way. During one stretch, Oklahoma scored on 14 straight possessions and the Sooners reached triple figures in scoring for the second time this season.
Hand's injury left Coale with only nine players for the rest of the season, and all of them saw action during the first 11 minutes against Texas-Arlington.
"We are still trying to figure out who we are without Whitney and I thought that we challenged our players to be a source in the second half and they responded," Coale said.
Oklahoma outrebounded the Mavericks 29-9 in the second half after posting just a 22-21 margin before halftime.
"We've got to finish a game," Texas-Arlington coach Samantha Morrow said. "We were playing a great basketball program. We wanted to zone them because we needed to but when you have Roethlisberger and Stevenson shooting like they did tonight, it's pretty tough. Inside we can't match up man-to-man. We tried, but I think that's what made it really hard to rebound."
Tamara Simmons led the Mavericks with 19 points, making 5 of 7 from 3-point range. The game was the fourth in an 11-game road trip for Texas-Arlington.
Oklahoma's nonconference schedule already figured to be a time of transition, as the Sooners adjusted to life without four-time All-American Courtney Paris. Then Hand - last season's Big 12 freshman of the year and the team's top 3-point threat - tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during a win over San Diego State on Nov. 27 during the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Oklahoma fell to then-No. 5 Notre Dame in its first game without Hand before returning home to face a Texas-Arlington team picked in the preseason to finish second in the Southland Conference. The Mavericks kept the game close for a half, going 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
Oklahoma led by as many as seven points, going up 33-26 with 6:37 left in the half on a put-back by Joanna McFarland, but Texas-Arlington scored the next 10 points and led 41-36 after Meghan Nelson's driving layup at the 2:14 mark.
The Sooners scored the final six points of the half to take a 42-41 lead, then started the second half with the 12-2 run, highlighted by three-point plays by Abi Olajuwon and Danielle Robinson. Texas-Arlington pulled within eight points but Oklahoma scored the next 13, with Roethlisberger making consecutive 3-pointers from the same spot in the corner.
"When you're making shots, it helps the rest of your game flow," Roethlisberger said. "Your mind is open to think about other things because you're not thinking about your shot and how you have to fix your shot."
Oklahoma led 75-51 eight minutes into the second half after a layup by Stevenson and eventually stretched its lead to as many as 33 points.
Olajuwon scored all 12 of her points in the second half while Robinson added 11 and six assists. Amanda Thompson had 10 rebounds for the Sooners.
Nelson had 16 points for Texas-Arlington and Shalyn Martin added 10.
- NCAA WOMENS BB
TEXAS ARLINGTON 67
OKLAHOMA (18) 100 FINAL
Dec 3 9:52 PM
- NCAA WOMENS BB
TEXAS ARLINGTON 41
OKLAHOMA (18) 42 HALFTIME
Dec 3 8:56 PM
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