Sabally, No. 9 Oregon rally past Oklahoma in Bahamas
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Nyara Sabally scored 20 of her career high 30 points after halftime to help ninth-ranked Oregon rally from 11 down and beat Oklahoma 98-93 in Saturday’s first round of the women’s Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
The 6-foot-5 Sabally went 11 for 19 from the floor while also finishing with 11 rebounds, three blocks and four assists in a dominating effort in the paint for the Ducks (3-0). That included a floater in the lane that started the game-turning 9-0 burst in the final 2 minutes that finally pulled Oregon free against a guard-heavy Oklahoma team that was quick to push the action and even quicker to catch-and-fire from behind the arc.
The Ducks won despite being shorthanded in the backcourt due to injuries. They also didn’t have point guard Maddie Scherr for much of the second half because of foul trouble. She earned the playful nickname “120” from coach Kelly Graves for how many minutes she’d need to play over the three 40-minute games at the Atlantis resort. She only played 28 because of the foul issues.
Sydney Parrish added 18 points, while Sedona Prince had 11 points and 11 boards for Oregon, which shot 47%.
Taylor Robertson scored 29 points and hit 7 of 10 3-pointers to lead the Sooners (3-1), who spread the floor to stretch out the bigger Ducks and fearlessly kept launching from deep. Her last came from the left corner in the final seconds to cut the deficit to 96-93 after Oregon had made its move, but Parrish hit two free throws with 5.1 seconds left to help the Ducks hold on.
Oklahoma shot just 36%, but made 14 of 36 3-pointers (39%) and 27 of 33 free throws (82%).
Oklahoma: The Sooners had won their first three games under Jennie Baranczyk, who left Drake to take over for now-retired Sherri Coale. They had relied on a four-guard lineup with only one starter taller than 5 feet, 11 inches. And that group had a confident look right to the end of this one, down to Madi Williams whipping a transition to Ana Llanusa to bury a contested 3-pointer on a 5-on-2 break late in the third quarter. Ultimately, the Sooners couldn’t contain Sabally or hang onto their lead, falling short in their bid to beat a top-10 team for the first time since beating No. 8 Texas in February 2017.
Oregon: The Ducks opened with two wins against overmatched opponents, allowing a combined 69 points to Idaho State and Dixie State. But they were shorthanded for this one with sophomore guard Te-Hina Paopao, freshman guard Taylor Bigby and USC junior transfer Endyia Rogers sidelined by injuries. Oregon struggled to consistently take advantage of its size until well into the third quarter when Sabally stepped up, starting with a run of six straight points during a 10-0 burst that helped Oregon erase Oklahoma’s last big lead midway through the fourth.
Oklahoma: The Sooners play the Buffalo-South Carolina loser in Sunday’s consolation bracket.
Oregon: The Ducks play the Buffalo-South Carolina winner in Sunday’s semifinals.
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