NORMAN — The Oklahoma women had just beaten Western Illinois 97-80 and believed they had accomplished some things with a very big game only days away when senior point guard Morgan Hook was asked for a few words.
“We’re all so excited,” she said. “It’s the first thing we talked about in the locker room … just to prove to people that we still are who we are.”
There it is.
Hook and the Sooners believe they’re a top 10 team. Unfortunately, in real life, they’re No. 17 because of an upset dealt them by UCLA two weeks ago in Los Angeles.
Today, at 3 p.m. inside Lloyd Noble Center, they can get that loss back and more by beating No. 2 Duke.
“I think that schedules give you opportunities and when opportunities present themselves you better snag them,” OU coach Sherri Coale said.
It will be OU’s second chance to take down a top-five team this season. The Sooners fell 97-92 in overtime to then-No. 4 Louisville.
The Blue Devils are having a better season than their male counterparts, coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach K’s team has lost twice this season, but coach Joanne P. McCallie’s squad has yet to lose and has yet to win by less than 12 points. A 70-58 victory at No. 21 Cal remains the Blue Devils’ nearest scrape.
OU is coming off a game in which two important things happened. One, after struggling with her shot the first seven games of the season, senior shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg went for 25 points against Western Illinois, including a 7-of-12 clip from 3-point land. Also, OU led the Leathernecks 36-27 on the boards.
Though both teams made more than half their shots, Coale believes there was a key stretch in the victory that could be important going forward. Hook agreed with her.
“Like coach said, we had eight to 10 possessions of playing great defense,” she said. “We know we can play that way and that’s the way we’re going to have to play on Sunday.”
OU is a definitive underdog.
The Blue Devils can come in waves. All five starters — Tricia Liston, Elizabeth Williams, Alexis Jones, Chelsea Gray and Haley Peters — are averaging at least 12 points per game, led by Liston’s 17.8. Also, four of those five are averaging at least 5.3 rebounds, led by Peters’ 9.8.
Some things may have to come together for OU to find a game capable of taking down the nation’s second ranked team.
Of course …
“I’ll tell you what,” Coale said. “Sunday is an opportunity. You can talk around it, below it and beside it, but it’s an opportunity and we need to take advantage of it.”
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