Notes from the Opponent: Breaking down Oklahoma women’s basketball with OU Daily’s Louis Raser

Lindsey Plotkin, General Sports Reporter

Before the Texas women’s basketball game against Oklahoma on Saturday, the Daily Texan sat down with OU Daily sports reporter Louis Raser. 

The Daily Texan: The last time these two teams faced each other, Texas won by 20 at home, but the Longhorns have been known to struggle on the road. How can Oklahoma use Texas’ road struggles to its advantage?

Louis Raser: I think Oklahoma is going to be looking for a huge home crowd this weekend, (head coach) Jennie Baranczyk is really pushing for one. And we’ve seen OU struggle against Iowa State on the road and then beat them at home. … So I think just that big home crowd, they’re really pushing for high attendance numbers this weekend.

DT: How does OU’s performance compare at home versus on the road? How much does that crowd really impact them?

LR: I would say pretty decently, they’re actually 12–1 at home and 8–3 on the road. I think it depends on the game obviously, but for Iowa State and Oklahoma State, (the crowd) definitely had an impact for those two games, and I expect it to this week and I expect them to have a pretty good turnout.

DT: What does this rivalry mean to the players on the Oklahoma team? 

LR: I think it means a lot to them. I was talking to Madi Williams and Ana Llanusa earlier this week, and they said just the intensity levels, and they noted how Texas is normally a powerhouse, just how fiery that game can be. They said you just always want to go out there and win and you have to be tough during the matchup. You have to toughen up a little bit so it’s going to be an interesting battle.

DT: What players does Texas need to be on the lookout for this Saturday?

LR: Madi Williams is always front and center, I think she’s a great all-around player but what really makes OU unique is the depth that they have. They’ve had eight different leading scorers on the season. So yeah, recently we’ve seen Aubrey Joens, the Iowa State Transfer … has really stepped up the past couple of games. I think Liz Scott is going to have to be huge on the interior if they want to win that battle. Overall, it’s a very, very balanced team and they balance out their minutes very, very well.

DT: Oklahoma is averaging over 90 points over their last six games. What does Texas’ defense need to do to stop them?

LR: Exactly what they did in the first matchup. That was by far OU’s worst offensive performance the first time they played. They scored 58 points there and their next lowest that they’ve scored is 69 on the season. OU is a very fast paced team. They run in transition and they move the ball very well. They’re number one in the country in assists per game, so I think just stopping that in any way, but yeah, OU’s offense is definitely tough to stop.

DT: What does OU need to do to beat Texas’ strong defense? 

LR: Not only getting offensive rebounds but converting those offensive rebounds. That’s something that Jennie (Baranczyk) has talked about throughout the season. They had one game against Kansas where they had 22 offensive rebounds, but they only had eight or nine second chance points. There was a stretch of the season where that was common where they weren’t converting those second chances, so I think they need to do that. And then limiting the turnovers, sometimes with how fast paced they are they can get a little ahead of themselves and turn the ball over a bunch and limiting that is going to be huge.

DT: Both of these teams are tied for first place in the Big 12. After this game if Oklahoma comes out on top, what do they need to do to finish out the season and win the Big 12?

LR: They have Kansas State next Wednesday at home, and that’ll be Gabby Gregory, former OU player coming back to town, so they’ll need to take care of business there on senior night. And then they have to travel to Oklahoma State, who’s really hot right now, and they’re very good at home. That’ll definitely be a test. It’s the last game of the season and I think that’ll be an interesting game, because Oklahoma State also gave them a battle when it was in Norman, and that was OU’s largest home crowd since 2013.