NORMAN, Okla. - For the second straight game against a top-15 opponent, Emma O'Connor (Lynbrook, N.Y.) scored 18 points, but it was not enough as the Marist women's basketball team fell short of their upset bid at 12th-ranked Oklahoma, 68-55, on Sunday afternoon.
O'Connor, who tied her personal best in scoring that she set just nine days ago against second-ranked Connecticut, played a career-high 38 minutes on Sunday, adding five rebounds and two steals. Elizabeth Beynnon (Burlington, Vt.) had 13 points in 35 minutes and Leanne Ockenden (Syracuse, N.Y.) was also in double figures with 10 points and also contributed a team-high six rebounds in 37 minutes of action. Natalie Gomez (Andover, Mass.) played a career-high 34 minutes and had a personal best six steals. The 68 points tied a season-low for Oklahoma, who came in averaging 80 points-per-game, and their 42% from the field and 26% from three-point range were both well below their season average
Marist (4-4) came out in the first half playing great defense, forcing three early Oklahoma (7-1) turnovers and blocking two shots. O'Connor went on a 6-0 run by herself to give the Red Foxes an early 6-2 lead. O'Connor used her quickness to get around Oklahoma's much slower 6-6 Nicole Griffin.
The Sooners used a 17-7 run to open up a lead at 25-17 with 6:22 left in the opening period.
The Red Foxes went on a 9-0 run to close within 30-28 with 3:07 left. Ockenden had a three-pointer and a long jumper to lead the run. O'Connor and Casey Dulin (Milford, Conn.) each had a layup as well. During that stretch, the defense held the Sooners nearly four full minutes without a point.
Marist trailed just 34-30 at the half. O'Connor led all players with 10 points. Gomez had registered her six steals and had four rebounds, tying for the team lead with Dulin.
The Red Foxes started on a 7-2 run in the second half to take a 37-36 lead. Beynnon hit a layup and two free throws around a three-point play by O'Connor.
The Sooners responded with a run of their own however, scoring the next nine points to take a 45-37 lead with 14:27 left as Marist went cold on offense, missing four shots in a row.
After the teams traded baskets, Marist stormed right back with a 10-4 run over a two minute stretch to pull within one at 51-50 with 8:15 remaining. Gomez started the streak with two free throws and O'Connor followed with two layups while Beynnon and Ockenden each had one.
The toll of the extended minutes began to show after that however, as the Red Foxes did not make a field goal for the next 6:25 as Oklahoma built a 65-51 lead.
Marist returns home on Saturday, Dec. 8 when they face Boston University of America East at 7:00 p.m. in McCann Arena. The Red Foxes are looking to avenge last year's 49-36 defeat to the Terriers in Boston.