NORMAN — The Oklahoma women enter the Big 12 tournament coming off two big wins over Kansas and Texas Tech, wanting to push their end-of-season momentum as far as they can take it, hoping to put themselves in a position to receive a helpful NCAA tournament seed.
Senior forward Joanna McFarland introduced another motivation into the mix.
“There’s definitely a taste of revenge as well, because we want to see a couple of these teams again,” she said. “We want to beat them and make sure we get the last win.”
McFarland was talking about tonight’s 8:30 p.m. opponent, West Virgina, which dusted the Sooners 82-63 at Morgantown Feb. 3, and probably Iowa State, who OU could meet in Sunday semifinal action. The Cyclones beat the Sooners 82-61 in Ames Jan. 15.
In Norman, the Sooners beat the Mountaineers 71-68 and lost to the Cyclones 72-68.
Poll madness: OU coach Sherri Coale, for one, is struggling to understand why only one conference team, Baylor, is ranked in the top 25 of either major national poll. Of course, the Lady Bears are No. 1 in the polls.
“The thing that doesn’t jump out at people is there’s never an easy game. There’s never a game where you can take a breath,” she said. “And that cumulative effect is huge when it comes to a record in a league, just what it does to you throughout the scope of it all.”
For Coale, there are no bottom feeders.
TCU is dead last in the league, 2-16, but played OU extremely tough in Fort Worth and, by regular-season’s end, had shocked both Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Also, Texas, the No. 9 seed, topped West Virginia the last day of the regular season and Kansas State, the No. 8 seed, topped Texas Tech its last game at home.
“Any coach you talk to in our league would feel like a boxer in the 12th round,” Coale said, “just staggering into the conference tournament.”
Layups: Shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg owns OU’s two most prolific 3-point shooting seasons, canning 94 as a freshman and 98 (and counting) this season. She needs two more to pass Erin Higgins on the all-time program list. Higgins canned 268 3-pointers during a five-year run from 2003 to 2007 … The Sooners shot 51.8 percent (29 of 56) and 55.8 percent (29 of 52) their last two games of the regular season, against Kansas and Texas Tech. The Tech number was a season-high and, at two games, OU’s riding its longest 50 percent-or-better streak of the season … McFarland’s points and rebounding averages against regular-season conference competition closed out at 11.4 and 11.1, a conference-season long double-double. The last time that happened in the program it was Courtney Paris, who averaged 17.2 points and 14.5 rebounds against the Big 12 in 2009.