The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

November 18, 2012

Billikens offer Sooners an opportunity to rebound

NORMAN — Eleventh-ranked for the moment, the Oklahoma women welcome St. Louis into Lloyd Noble Center at 2 p.m. today.

The Billikens are 0-2 after road losses to Missouri (67-51) and Missouri-Kansas City (56-53), and coach Sherri Coale’s Sooners may well have an idea of the kind of game they want to play.

Still, make no mistake.

OU’s focus is on OU today.

That’s the way it goes when you’re upset by unranked UCLA on Wednesday, falling behind by 18 points with about 10 minutes remaining and staging a furious comeback that one, came up short and two, never should have been necessary.

OU has much to prove.

“We didn’t prepare ourselves properly,” senior guard and team captain Whitney Hand said. “As a team, we didn’t get ourselves ready … We were just soft.”

It was the worst kind of loss the Sooners could have taken. It wasn’t that their shots wouldn’t fall, or that they proved all the good things people believed about them entering the season were untrue. Instead, it was that they were manhandled by the bigger, more physical Bruins, a fact made clear by the Bruins 56-34 rebounding advantage, 24 of which came off the offensive glass.

“We beat ourselves and all of it stems from the physicality … We just didn’t adapt to it very well, in every phase of the game.”

Hand and shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg combined to score 43 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough as long as the Bruins owned the backboards.

“There’s no excuse for it,” Hand said.

Also, there was nothing to be done about it until today, when the Sooners get back on the court.

Coale knows what she hopes to see when the Sooners and Billikens tip off.

“Five guys blocking out on every possession. That’s exactly what I want to see,” she said. “Everything else will take care of itself, I promise you.”

Clay HorningFollow me @clayhorningcfhorning@normantranscript.com

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