|Points||McCabe - 18||Pierre-Louis - 24|
|Rebounds||Two players - 9||Pierre-Louis - 12|
|Assists||Three players - 3||Simpson - 3|
|Steals||Three players - 1||Williams - 3|
|Blocks||Muensterman - 2||Pierre-Louis - 3|
NORMAN – On the night when Courtney Paris' No. 3 was raised to the rafters, Vionise Pierre-Louis paid her tribute with a double-double as No. 22/21 Oklahoma defeated Belmont, 96-73, in its season opener at Lloyd Noble Center.
Pierre-Louis had game-highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds to earn 11th career double-double, Maddie Manning scored 17 and LaNesia Williams had 10 as the Sooners (1-0) led wire-to-wire in the victory over the Bruins (0-1).
“I’m really proud of our guys, I thought we had a terrific start,” OU head coach Sherri Coale. “A big point total in the first quarter, but more than anything the tone that was set with our connection on the floor and our aggression and connectedness that we had. I give the four seniors complete credit for the environment we had in the locker room and the pace we played at as soon as the official tossed the ball up.”
Both teams took the same number of shots, but OU made 10 more, shooting 50 percent from the field on the night while holding Belmont to just 36 percent. Pierre-Louis missed just once, making 10 of her 11 shots while also adding three blocks, two assists and a steal to round out her stat line.
“Vivi’s efficiency was incredible. I just thought she probably had the best internal clock in this game that I’ve ever seen her have,” Coale said of the senior. “Throughout the entire game, she went at the right speed and was super aware of everything that was going on, both offensively and defensively. She’s had efficient games in the past but I don’t know if she’s ever had as complete of one as she did today.”
OU used a quick start to build an early lead, outscoring Belmont, 29-12, in the opening frame. OU was 10-of-17 from the field in the first quarter as Manning and Pierre-Louis both scored eight apiece in the period.
Gabbi Ortiz sent the Sooners into the locker room with a 20-point advantage as the senior nailed a deep 3-pointer with the clock winding down in the first half. Ortiz turned in a balanced performance with 10 points and five rebounds in 34 minutes of action.
OU’s freshman trio of Ana Llanusa, Shaina Pellington and Mandy Simpson shined in the victory. Simpson poured in 12 points, five rebounds and three assists in her first career start. Llanusa chipped in nine points and five rebounds, while Pellington had eight points and two assists.
The Sooners dominated the paint, outscoring Belmont by a 58-28 margin, while recording 22 second-chance points. OU committed just nine turnovers in the win as the Sooners led the entire game.
The victory gave OU its 19th win in its last 20 home openers at Lloyd Noble Center, while improving to 29-15 all-time in season-opening games.
The Sooners hit the road to face No. 25 DePaul Monday night in Chicago at 7 p.m. CT. The game can be heard live on the Sooner Radio Network.