11-3, 1-0 Conf

Sooners shake road woes in blowout of Cornhuskers

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The maturation of Oklahoma (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) freshmen Aaryn Ellenberg and Morgan Hook continued Saturday, just in time for the start of Big 12 play.

Ellenberg scored a team-high 19 points and Hook added 16 in the Sooners' 70-50 victory over Nebraska.

"They not been real consistent on the road, so it was good to see them both show up and be part of the party tonight," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "They're just heady players and have a lot of offensive weapons. When they both score and defend enough so I can keep them on the floor for long periods of time, then things work out pretty well for us."

Whitney Hand added 18 points and Danielle Robinson 12 as the Sooners (11-3, 1-0) ended a three-game road losing streak.

Nebraska (10-5, 0-1) committed 19 turnovers and shot a season-low 29.6 percent. Robinson was especially tough on the defensive end, forcing Cornhuskers point guard Lindsey Moore into nine turnovers and a lot of bad decisions.

"We weren't satisfied before the [holiday] break with our defensive intensity, so coming back from break, that was one of our focuses," Robinson said. "We knew that being on the road you have to be able to create easy offense."

The Sooners had no problem in the Devaney Center against the defending Big 12 champions. The crowd never had a reason to get into the game. Both teams were sloppy early, and Nebraska stayed that way throughout.

"We came out a little slow," Hand said, "and after that we gave them a good little punch. They were frustrated. Danielle frustrated the heck out of their ball-handlers."

Freshman Jordan Hooper scored 16 points and Catheryn Redmon had 10 to lead the Huskers.

Coale said it was OU's best defensive performance against a high-quality opponent, and it all started with Robinson's work against Moore.

"I feel for Lindsey Moore," Coale said. "I don't think I would want D-Rob in my jersey with me all night. That's a tough draw there."

Moore, a sophomore, said she learned some hard lessons at the hands of the senior preseason All-American.

"It's good for me to play against someone of her caliber," Moore said. "She's a great leader out there for them and just an outstanding player on both sides of the floor."

The Sooners made 11 of 24 3-pointers, with Hand and Hook each hitting four.

Ellenberg and Hand took turns taking over the game as Oklahoma went out to a 37-21 halftime lead.

Ellenberg scored 12 of her team's 15 points in one stretch. She hit a 3-pointer just before the shot clock ran out to get her run started. Then she dribbled behind her back on her way to the hoop for a left-handed layup and converted a three-point play.

Hand had career highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds against TCU last Sunday in her first game back after missing most of last season because of a torn knee ligament, and she turned in another strong performance Saturday.

Hand hit a pair of 3s and a jumper to end the half. She made a 3 and a layup off a steal to stretch Oklahoma's lead to 52-32 early in the second half.

"I felt a little out of rhythm for different reasons," Hand said. "My knee was hurting more than it was on Sunday. But I'm so proud of my team. Everyone played exactly how they need to play today. The freshmen were awesome."

Ellenberg had 34 points in 34 minutes in a road game against Ohio State a month ago, but she was held to 10 points at Arkansas on Dec. 19 and to three points at TCU.

Hook had a combined 10 points in the Sooners' last three road games. She made 4 of 6 3-pointers after going 1 for 8 from long range against the Horned Frogs.

If Ellenberg and Hook can continue to play well in tandem, the Sooners figure to be tough to beat the rest of the way.

"I'm loving coaching them," said Coale, who has taken two straight teams to the Final Four. "They learn and they get better. A team's ceiling exists wherever their IQ takes them. I think this team has a chance to have a really high IQ. There are a lot of different things we can do. Young guys are coming along."

The Huskers went 16-0 in Big 12 play last season, and 32-2 overall, but they sustained devastating graduation losses.

"We've got a lot of kids out there that played a little bit with a deer-in-the-headlights look," Nebraska coach Connie Yori said.