NORMAN — The Oklahoma women likely still aren’t where they want to be and Saturday night’s victory over TCU offered some solid reasons why.
Nonetheless, the Sooners may be turning a serious corner after getting two wins in the same week for the first time in a long time.
Begin with the challenges.
Saturday night, in a 63-52 victory over the Horned Frogs, senior point guard Morgan Hook only played 7 first-half minutes thanks to foul trouble. That led to freshman T’Ona Edwards running the point and a disjointed offense that committed 12 first-half turnovers.
Also, the Sooners didn’t convert a single field goal over the game’s last 5:45. How does that happen?
And, they could use some more weaponry. Even in their 75-54 victory at Iowa State last Tuesday, shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg finished with 22 points, 10 more than any other teammate. And four days later against the Horned Frogs, Ellenberg netted 19, with only Hook, with 11 points, joining her in double figures.
However, statistics, just as long as OU prevailed, were secondary in both games.
The buzzword is “energy.”
Or synonyms for it.
“I was really proud of our focus, our intensity, the passion that we showed tonight,” were the first words from coach Sherri Coale’s mouth after the Sooners posted the program’s first victory over the Cyclones in Ames since 2008.
The night the Sooners beat the Cyclones, Ellenberg referenced the two teams’ previous meeting at Lloyd Noble Center, when Hook netted 26 points but didn’t approach getting matched by any teammates. OU was committed not to let that happen again.
“It was really just a choice of everybody to come out and be aggressive,” Ellenberg said.
Despite the turnovers, the late scoring drought and a lack of overall offensive production, many of the same things were intimated after the TCU victory.
“I thought we played with great energy again,” Coale said.
Hook said the Sooners are beginning to become self-propelled, bringing energy to the floor rather than have “people drag it out of us.”
Of course, as important as it was to maintain a high energy level from one game to a second game, it’s equally important to bring it from a second to a third game and from a third to a fourth game, chances the Sooners will have when they meet Kansas State Wednesday night in Manhattan, followed by Bedlam’s first chapter, against No. 8 Oklahoma State Saturday in Norman.
“It is important for us to keep a consistent energy level because I think that’s what really drives us,” Ellenberg said. “If the energy is there, then everything else will settle itself.”
And if Coale is right, it may only get better and better because it should keep happening.
“I think they realized how much fun it is to play that way … You talk about it and talk about it and then you push and then you try pulling and you try all these different things to get that out of them,” she said. “It’s one of those things where, ‘If you just do it, you’ll see what I’m talking about.’ And they did it, and I think they felt it and you want to do that again.”
Only this time, maybe without the turnovers and the droughts. Of course, if Ellenberg’s right, the rest will “settle itself.”
Follow me @clayhorning
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