NORMAN — Oklahoma women’s coach Sherri Coale isn’t so sure Tuesday night’s loss at Iowa State boiled down to a tired team.
The Sooners might have played like one, but energy tends to get sapped when you can’t shoot a lick and Oklahoma missed its first 11 shots of the game.
That, playing from behind, and surrendering offensive rebounds while forward Joanna McFarland dealt with foul trouble was a recipe for a low-energy, out-of-sync night and that’s exactly what OU endured, finishing 19 of 60 from the floor and 9 of 31 from 3-point land.
The 82-61 loss was the Sooners’ (14-3, 4-1 Big 12) first of the conference season and back home today against hapless Red River rival Texas (7-9, 0-5) would appear to be just the ticket by which OU might begin another winning streak.
Of course, a little help from the bench might come in very handy.
Coale may not think the Sooners were a haggard team Tuesday, but it has to be a possibility.
Since conference play began, OU’s starting five — Morgan Hook, Aaryn Ellenberg, Sharane Campbell, McFarland and Nicole Griffin — have logged overtime on the court.
Both Ellenberg and Hook are averaging more than 38 minutes per game, while Campbell is playing 34.6. Only foul trouble has kept McFarland and Griffin at 28.4 and 29.6 minutes, respectively.
To listen to Coale, OU’s bench needs are pretty simple.
“We need production, we need efficiency, we need guys to come in and cover the sets of our opponents,” she said. “To be able to block out, to be in the right place for offensive entry. We just need more consistency coming off the bench.”
Once, OU’s bench was long, but season-ending injuries suffered by Kaylon Williams, Maddie Manning and Whitney Hand have left only senior Jasmine Hartman, freshman Nicole Kornet and junior college transfer Portia Durrett as viable options off the pine.