NORMAN — Sherri Coale has tried about everything.
The Oklahoma women’s basketball coach has adjusted her starting lineup, played with her rotation and player groupings, has hunkered down in practice and, over the course of each game, has tried to pull all the right strings. Thus far, however, it has not worked as she thought or hoped it would work.
The Sooners are 8-4, with two of the losses at UCLA and Marist, teams with a combined record of 13-10, each one counting OU as its lone victory over a ranked team.
Along the way, OU has been a poor shooting team, has received inconsistent play from its only All-American candidate — shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg — while struggling to make its free throws and get off to good starts.
Yet, while Coale has tried plenty, she has not tried everything. Only now, she’s ready to call upon a little more from Sherri Coale.
To hear the coach explain it, part of what plagues the Sooners is saying goodbye to Whitney Hand. Last year’s fifth-year senior and longtime team leader has joined husband and former Sooner quarterback Landry Jones in Pittsburgh.
“They’re trying to hear who they are without her there,” Coale said of the players Hand left behind, a list that includes everybody in Coale's regular rotation but freshmen starter Gioya Carter and reserve T’Ona Edwards. “And part of them being able to hear who they are is me being quiet, and I have to pace how long I can do that.”
Now, apparently, is a time to quit pacing and start acting.
“I think we’re at a point where they need a little bit more from me, and I can give them a little bit more,” Coale said. “I can give them whatever they need, and I think they’ll take a hold of it.