NORMAN — Having it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily maintained. It can’t be mandated nor picked up in St. John Arena and brought to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Still, the Sooners have it right now. And right now, that’s all they can ask for.
What is it?
Some call it the zone.
“We call it the ‘It’ factor,” Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale said.
And it doesn’t come around very often.
You can win big games without it. You can play so collectively hard that you overcome not having it. You might even, if everything falls just right, find a way to upset Tennessee in the Oklahoma City Regional semifinal at 3:35 p.m. Sunday without it.
Still, it’s much better to have it than not have it.
It makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Call it cohesion or chemistry, focus or being dialed in, it’s the synchronicity of urgency and purpose the Sooners put on display in their 85-72 victory over UCLA Monday night in Columbus, Ohio.
“They’ve been really good. Even when they’ve not been good, they’ve been good together,” Coale said. “There’s an energy that’s circulating among them … That synergy that we saw in the UCLA game, I have seen on a constant basis since we’ve gotten home.”
Coale didn’t want to put a number on how many times she’s seen it since taking over the Sooner program, but said “it is rare” and one time her team had it was on its run to the 2002 national championship game.
“We caught it at the Big 12 tournament (that year) and we had it until we lost to Connecticut in the championship,” she said. “To the final buzzer, we had it.”
A couple other times OU might have had it?