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January 11, 2014

Sooners can’t afford letdown against ’Cats

NORMAN — The good thing may be that it’s Kansas State coming into Lloyd Noble Center to take on the Oklahoma women at 7 tonight.

The Wildcats (6-8, 0-3 Big 12) have lost more than they’ve won this season, an odd development given coach Deb Patterson’s ongoing and, for the most part, quite successful 18-year run in Manhattan.

Given that coach Sherri Coale’s Sooners need a win in the worst way, Kansas State may be the perfect opponent.

Still, OU (10-6, 1-2), on a two-game losing streak, would certainly prefer to net a victory in the best way, and that’s what the Sooners were talking about after practice Friday morning.

They’ve lost at least three more games than they ever figured they would lose at this point in the season. They’ve also lost three games in overtime, including their last two, at home against Iowa State last Sunday and Wednesday at Texas. 

The first overtime loss was also at home, against No. 5 Louisville. In each of those three games, OU gave up narrow leads in the final minute of regulation.

“We know what we need to do and everybody’s trying to hard to do it,” senior center Nicole Griffin said. “It’s like everybody’s saying, ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to to this.’ In order for us to be successful, we can’t think that way.”

According to Griffin, as well as senior point guard Morgan Hook, when things have gone wrong, players have retreated into themselves for solutions, rather than attacking the game collectively.

You can almost see it statistically.

Against Texas, Coale said things began to go wrong in the second half and bad things snowballed as OU gave away a 12-point first-half lead. 

Sharane Campbell, who had 12 points and eight rebounds in the game, also committed eight turnovers, emblematic of a player trying to do too much. Griffin fouled out in just 20 minutes, another indication, perhaps, of trying to do too much.

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