Taylor Robertson started slow.
Coming off a 29-point performance in the Sooners’ upset bid against No. 9 Oregon that came up just short, Robertson finished the first quarter of Oklahoma’s game against Buffalo on Sunday night with zero points, going 0-for-3 from the 3-point line. The senior guard doesn’t care about previous misses, though.
“I'm never really thinking about my last shot,” Robertson said. “If I start getting on a roll, I'm always thinking about the next shot, whether the first shot goes in or misses. Even though it was a slow start by my shooting, I just kept thinking ‘next shot, next shot’ and eventually, it'll go in.”
Eventually it did go in, nine times to be exact. Robertson scored a game-high 27 points while tying her career high and the OU program record for 3-pointers made in a single game. The senior guard finished the night 9-for-23 from behind the 3-point line.
Thanks to Robertson’s shooting, the Sooners (4-1) dominated Buffalo (1-2) 93-72 on the second day of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas. Oklahoma did so by raining triples from everywhere on the court, attempting a school record 41 3-pointers and cashing in on 15. Forty-five of the Sooners’ 93 points came from behind the arc.
“What a great team effort,” head coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “I thought we had some great energy. … My favorite stat on the whole sheet is the 29 assists. I love that we're playing together and having fun. I think today, especially after a hard day yesterday, being able to step on the floor and completely separate one day to the next shows a lot about the maturity of this team. I was really proud of that.”
The assists came in bunches, as Branczyk mentioned. Many came off Robertson’s teammates trying to set her up for open looks, showcasing their prowess at finding and feeding the hot hand. Freshman guard Kelbie Washington led the team with seven assists, while senior forward Madi Williams dished five.
“We just assume that it’s going in,” Williams said of Robertson’s shots. “T-Rob is the best shooter in the nation. She's got the green light. I trust that everything she shoots is going in. I mean, I thought all 23 were going in today.”
That’s high praise from Williams, who had an impressive night herself. The senior forward ended the game with a double-double, contributing 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
The last piece of the Sooners' three-headed scoring attack, senior guard Ana Llanusa, added 16 points in 26 minutes. After playing the Ducks close on Saturday, OU pushed through and rebounded from a tough loss.
“I don't think it was too hard to bounce back,” Llanusa said. “I just think we're looking for wins. I'm just excited to play the next game. That loss yesterday, that sucked. But we were ready to play and just move on and get a win. We got an opportunity to play today and made the most of it.”
The Sooners came out struggling to shoot the ball and found themselves trailing after the first quarter. From the second quarter on, it was as if a switch had flipped, as OU was passing the ball fluidly, leading to wide-open 3-pointers.
The ball movement and fast pace led Oklahoma to out-scoring the Bulls 30-16 in the second quarter and never looked back. Robertson drilled five of her nine three pointers in the second half, as the Sooners poured in 48 points across the final two quarters.
Robertson’s sharpshooting is nothing new. She already holds the program record for 3-pointers made in a season with 131, and ranks second all-time in program history for career 3-point makes with 339.
The postgame exchange between OU’s three seniors and Baranczyk reveals all that’s needed to understand the confidence Robertson’s team has in her:
“Madi, when you see Taylor shoot the ball, do you think it’s going to go in?”, Baranczyk questioned.
“Yes,” Williams replied.
“I used to get in trouble all the time for throwing it to T-Rob and just running back the other way,” Llanusa added.
“She still does,” Baranczyk joked.
Oklahoma caps its trip to the Bahamas against Minnesota at 4 p.m. CT on Monday, Nov. 22. The Gophers lost their first game to No. 2 Connecticut and won their second round matchup against Syracuse.
When Kadi is good this team can be really good but when shes not this team struggles. Shes such a difference maker.I thought going into the season this would be. NCAA team but I don’t think it’s in the cards. Too many unforced TO’s, at times they play like inexperienced freshman. Kadi cannot get out of her own way.