The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

December 14, 2012

Leader must emerge in Hand’s stead

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The Sooners face Cal-Riverside on Dec. 20 and Cal State-Northridge on Dec. 29. Then it’s No. 25 West Virginia to open Big 12 competition Jan. 2.

Explaining what OU most has to make up for in Hand’s absence, Coale said a mouthful in just a few words.

“She’s their leader, their voice of experience, their heart and soul and their energy,” she said.

Still, Coale believes she has players who can begin to fill those intangible voids.

“I think it has to be more than one … We have some experience,” said Coale, who proceeded to tick off her seniors, post Joanna McFarland and reserve guard Jasmine Hartman, as well as Hook, Griffin and Ellenberg, each a junior with a great deal of playing experience.

“Everyone is capable,” Coale said. “Now that (Hand) can’t do it, it’s going to take them a while to learn how to use those skills. But they have them, they’re there. They just haven’t been called upon in this manner.”

The Sooners know they don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves. Also, they believe they can still be a part of something special.

“It makes us want to play harder and it makes us want to be part of that story that’s told at the end of the year,” Hook said, “about how we had to fight because we lost four of our players.”

Should they court success, it would be indeed be quite the story. Most of all, perhaps, because it won’t be easy.

Clay HorningFollow me @clayhorningcfhorning@normantranscript.com

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