WACO, Texas —
Still, there are reasons OU should walk out for the tip a confident team this morning. The Sooners will have had a week of practice uninterrupted by any opponent. Their only bye week of the conference season, they were able to go back to work on themselves this week before turning the page toward Baylor.
They should be ready.
Still, Coale knows there can be a gulf between “should be” and “will be” when it comes to facing opponents like the Lady Bears.
“Step No. 1 is you can’t beat yourself. You can’t have the game over with before you step on the floor, and that’s always the biggest challenge, regardless of what kind of tradition your program has,” she said. “When you see a team at the top of the rankings, when you go take the floor, you have to know in your own mind and in your own heart that you can go make plays and that you have a chance to win the game and that’s easier said than done.”
Both of last season’s meetings followed similar templates. In the first one, OU actually led 16-15 midway through the first half, yet fell behind by 17 points before the half. In the second, the Sooners hung reasonably close until the half, when they trailed by 11, before being blown out after intermission.
“You have to work so hard (to execute) your game plan, to make possessions hard for them, that it wears on you,” Coale said. “So they get to explode later in the game because they haven’t been doing those mental Olympics the whole time.”
On that issue, McFarland has a thought that rings true.
“It will probably come down to matching up,” she said, “player for player.”
Nobody can let down against Baylor.