NORMAN — The season has not gone the way coach Sherri Coale and the Oklahoma women would have planned or thought.
The Sooners likely thought they’d win at least one of their two marquee non-conference contests, either taking a victory over No. 2 Duke or No. 7 Louisville, and they surely thought they’d beat UCLA in Los Angeles about seven months after they eliminate the Bruins from last season’s NCAA tournament.
Alas, they won none of those games.
Going forward, the Sooners have run out of chances to claim a non-conference victory of note. Instead, they have the Big 12 Conference to look forward to and a quartet of games to first, win, and second, use to improve themselves heading into conference.
That begins at 2 p.m. today inside Lloyd Noble Center against Maryland-Eastern Shore (3-5).
Though coming off a loss to to Duke that included a forgettable first half, OU is coming off, at least, 20 good minutes of basketball. Against the second-ranked Blue Devils, OU led the second-half scoring 58-48 to play Duke closer than anybody else has this season, ultimately falling 94-85.
“Tremendous grit in the second half,” Coale said. “(Aaryn Ellenberg and Morgan Hook) were really tough in the second half, Gioya Carter was fantastic. There are some good things to take away and Duke is No. 2 in the country for a reason.”
If the Sooners build on their last half, the game could get out of hand. The Monarchs have played one ranked team in No. 25 Syracuse and lost 113-42 and at least one other quality team in Old Dominion and lost 82-57. Their victories have come over Maryland-Baltimore County, George Mason, and Lincoln (Penn.).
Still, the Sooners have plenty to work on and could get some real resistance from UMES in one of those areas.
Though they’ve lost more than they’ve won, the Monarchs are nonetheless out rebounding their opponents 49.9 to 46.4 , with 19.3 of those boards coming off the offensive glass.