MILWAUKEE -- Senior guard Danielle Robinson saved her best for the down stretch.
The preseason All-American scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half to lead Oklahoma (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) to a 76-59 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday.
"That's what she does," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "That's why she is a candidate for the Wade Trophy and on everyone's preseason All-American list."
Robinson had four points and nine assists in the first half, which ended with the Sooners ahead 37-34, and Coale said that Robinson didn't look enough to score early on.
"I don't know when I've seen a half of basketball where she took three shots," Coale said. "We talked a little bit about that."
The Sooners were never able to pull away from the scrappy Panthers until Robinson took her coach's advice and turned a five-point lead with 5 minutes to play into a rout with a 14-4 run.
"She was a little more aggressive looking for her shot, but really it was leadership, the way she carried herself," Coale said. "It was the intensity in her face."
Sami Tucker, who finished with 15 points, sank two free throws to pull the Panthers to 60-55 with 5:26 to play, but Robinson's jumper started the surge that turned the game decidedly in Oklahoma's favor. She capped her performance by racing the length of the floor after stealing the ball from Angela Rodriguez and laying it in uncontested for a 17-point lead.
After shooting 62.5 percent in the first half to keep the game close, the Panthers went cold late while Robinson and her teammates were pulling away. Their four points during the decisive surge came on free throws.
Aaryn Ellenberg, a freshman, added 14 points for the Sooners in their first opener on the road since playing at Tennessee to start the 2002-03 season. Joanna McFarland and Morgan Hook each had 13 points.
Oklahoma, picked to finish third in the Big 12 Conference this season, hopes to build on the 2010 season which ended with a return to the Final Four, 27 wins and a No. 3 ranking.
Rodriguez led the Panthers, a preseason pick to finish sixth in the Horizon League, with 16 points and Lindsay Laur added 11 before fouling out.
Oklahoma made an impression on Rodriguez and the rest of the Panthers' squad.
"They're good, but it's nice to know we can hang with them," she said.
The game started with a moment of silence in memory of former Sooner standout Rosalind Ross, a Milwaukee native, who was fatally shot outside a restaurant in her hometown last September.
"It was hard, but the right thing to do," Coale said.
Ross started all 36 games of the 2002 season when the team advanced to the program's first Final Four appearance and finished the season ranked No. 2, their all-time highest standing.