The fact that OU’s streak of 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances did not end was significant to the players.
“A lot of relief, and just for this season, to know that you’re going to have another chance, a clean slate,” senior shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg said of the moment OU’s name was called. “And for the program, too, knowing that (we’d) been to the tournament 14 consecutive times, keeping that alive.”
To get out of Durham and into Lincoln, OU will have to put two superior games together — or one good game and one great one — because it will most assuredly mean having to get past Duke, a team that beat OU at Lloyd Noble Center 94-85 on Dec. 8.
“You can’t string together two good games if you don’t have a good game, and at least we’ve shown repeatedly that we have that game in our arsenal,” Coale said. “The flip side of that is that we’ve also shown that we have the dinosaur egg in our arsenal, and we also have to figure out how to squash that … and put all the good ones together.”
It’s March and the Sooner women are dancing again. Anything seems possible.
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Strength of schedule: Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale believes she knows exactly why her 14-loss, No. 59-RPI women’s basketball team was selected into the NCAA tournament for a 15th straight season Monday night.
“I think strength of schedule is huge. I think pre-conference strength of schedule is probably what pushed us in … Performing the way we did against top-10 teams in the country, even though we didn’t win those games, that’s that proverbial eye test that they talk about.
“I think how you schedule is imperative, and I think you only have to look at teams that don’t get in and look at the men’s brackets to understand how strong that’s a factor.”