If Mississippi State women’s basketball felt its first loss of the season last week against No. 12 Michigan was a blessing in disguise — offering a glimpse at what the Bulldogs needed to address — there was no disguising what Saturday’s game against Oklahoma wound up being.
The 94-63 loss to the Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma, drove home those areas of weakness.
Mississippi State had particular issues slowing down an Oklahoma (7-1) offense that hit 40% of its 3-pointers compared to 23% from the Bulldogs. And while interim coach Doug Novak’s squad did well on the offensive glass, the 2-3 zone employed by the Sooners gave the Bulldogs fits.
As 3-pointers continued for Oklahoma, those same shots clanked for Mississippi State (6-2). And the Sooners turned the contest into a blowout early on, embarking on runs of 15-2 and 15-1 in the first and second quarters.
That left no route to recovery for the Bulldogs, leading to the lopsided defeat — the second in three games.
Mississippi State had largely avoided turnovers, even in that loss to Michigan. But the Bulldogs struggled to take care of possession Saturday, committing a season-high 23 turnovers.
The Bulldogs turned the ball over on 27.4% of their possessions, leaving them to score 0.750 points per trip down the floor. And those turnovers resulted in 29 points for Oklahoma.
Novak knew what to expect from Oklahoma before arriving in Norman. The Sooners entered Saturday with the 11th-most 3-point attempts in the country (221) and the 10th-most makes (74). While they have averaged a 33.48 shooting percentage on those long-range shots, Saturday’s display was even better than usual.
Oklahoma shot lights out from deep, especially in the first half, when it converted 9-of-16 — a 56.3% clip. Guards Ana Llanusa and Taylor Robertson led the way, combining for nine 3-pointers and 43 points overall.
Mississippi State couldn’t keep pace, attempting 10 more 3-pointers than Oklahoma yet hitting two fewer. The Bulldogs thrive in transition, getting into the lane and scoring down low. But those opportunities were available in small supply, leaving them to attempt threes that wouldn’t fall.
Mississippi State’s game against Michigan got away in the fourth quarter, when the movement on the offensive side of the floor slowed down. But even before that point, the ball movement was largely lacking.
The Bulldogs had six assists in that game. And they had just two against Dayton in the first game of the Daytona Beach Invitational.
Saturday was another poor day in terms of moving the ball, finishing with six assists compared to those 23 turnovers. Oklahoma's 2-3 zone stymied Mississippi State throughout.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State women's basketball loses to Oklahoma