Stevenson's scoring spree lifts No. 13 SoonersJan 23, 2010 - 11:27 PM By JEFF LATZKE AP Sports Writer
NORMAN, Okla.(AP) -- Mere moments after the opening tip went Oklahoma's way, Nyeshia Stevenson fired a 3-pointer from the left wing and couldn't believe what happened. It didn't go in.
She wasn't about to give up.
Stevenson's hot streak finally came midway through the game, when she scored 21 of her 22 points during an 8-minute stretch to help No. 13 Oklahoma open a wide gap on its way to an 81-69 win against Kansas that was the 300th of coach Sherri Coale's career.
"I think coaches get way too much credit," Coale said. "That's honestly how I feel. ... There are a lot of guys that put in a lot of effort and fine performances to get that number."
Stevenson provided the latest. She went 7-for-10 during her scoring spree that started with a layup with 5:33 left in the first half and continued into the second half. The Sooners (14-4, 4-1 Big 12) had a six-point lead beforehand and a 19-point advantage by the time Stevenson was done.
Stevenson found herself saying, "Wow, it didn't go in?" after that first shot, which felt just right when it left her hand. Finally, after back-to-back layups, the rest of her shots started falling, too.
"My teammates, they always say that I'm never going to stop shooting," Stevenson said.
Abi Olajuwon followed the last of Stevenson's four 3-pointers with a basket inside to give Oklahoma a 49-28 edge, and the Jayhawks (11-7, 1-4) were never closer than 10 over the final 16 minutes.
Sade Morris led Kansas with 17 points while playing her final college game in her hometown, and Carolyn Davis scored 14. Aishah Sutherland added 13 points and Monica Engelman had 12 points off the bench.
The Jayhawks, picked to finish second in the Big 12, have lost four of five - and lost starting point guard Angel Goodrich to a season-ending knee injury - in a rough start to conference play.
Danielle McCray, the Big 12's second-leading scorer with a 20-point average, had only seven points before fouling out. It was the second straight game she had been held to single digits after scoring at least 10 in her previous 30 games.
"The bottom line is if you can't make a shot, I still need you to rebound and guard. She wasn't guarding," coach Bonnie Henrickson said.
Henrickson said she challenged McCray - "I think coach Coale's pickin' on you" - after a series of four possessions when all the Sooners did was screen McCray to create openings.
"She's got to answer that. She's got to play," Henrickson said. "And we've got to be a team that we all play well, not Danielle plays well and nobody (else) plays well or we play well and Danielle doesn't play well because I think we've got a chance to be pretty good when we all play well."
Oklahoma won its 13th straight game against Kansas, evening the all-time series at 27-27. The Jayhawks dominated the series in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s but haven't beaten the Sooners since 1999, the last year before Coale's current run of 10 straight trips to the NCAA tournament.
Coale, who is 300-136 in 14 seasons with the Sooners, took the game ball she'd been given for the landmark win and made a beeline toward assistant Jan Ross. Before giving Ross a hug on the sideline, she handed off the ball to her.
Ross and Coale were college teammates, and the two have been side-by-side on the Sooners' bench for the past 14 seasons.
"They should have made another ball and given it to Jan. She's been here for every single one of them," Coale said.
Danielle Robinson added 14 points and seven assists, freshman Joanna McFarland - a Kansas native - had a season-high 11 points and Carlee Roethlisberger scored 10 for Oklahoma. The Sooners committed only eight turnovers, matching their lowest total of the season.
Oklahoma came out cold and complicated matters by fouling the Jayhawks over and over again. Starters Amanda Thompson, Roethlisberger and Olajuwon each picked up two fouls in the first 8 1/2 minutes as Kansas opened a 16-6 lead.
Robinson led Oklahoma right back, scoring seven points in a 15-0 response. She drove for a pair of layups, including one that resulted in a three-point play, and connected on a jumper from the left wing to give the Sooners a 21-16 advantage.
And then Stevenson got started.
She scored Oklahoma's final 13 points of the first half as the lead ballooned to 37-24. After the early foul trouble, the Sooners weren't called for another foul the last 11 1/2 minutes of the half while drawing 10 against Kansas - including the second and third against McCray.
"You've got to be able to respond. You've got to adjust to how the officials changed at about the 11 1/2-minute mark," Henrickson said. "You've got to adjust, because it changed at the 11 1/2-minute mark. You've got to be able to adjust to that as a player, and we didn't."
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