NORMAN — Forward Amanda Thompson might not be the quickest player on the court. Nor the tallest. Nor the highest jumper. But somehow, someway, no matter who the Oklahoma Sooners are playing, Thompson gets rebounds over quicker, taller players who jump higher. "I watched our game against Kentucky again on the couch, and I thought about it on the bench during the game, she gets every rebound,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. "I’m thinking, where did she come from, how did she get that rebound? "Indomitable will. I don’t have another way of explaining it. She just wants it more.” The reasons are many for OU’s advancement to the Final Four. Point guard Danielle Robinson is unstoppable in transition. Nyeshia Stevenson has caught fire from downtown at the right time. Abi Olawjuwon is scoring inside. But Thompson’s indomitable will to snag loose balls and grab key rebounds is as big a reason as any for the Sooners’ magical run. "I know getting those loose balls will help the team out and get us another possession,” said Thompson, a senior. "That basically defines my game.” Thompson’s game is actually about more than just that. This season, the 6-foot-1 Chicago native is third on the team in scoring, averaging a career-high 13.1 points per game, thanks in part to a sweet mid-range jumper. But even though she’s had to take on more of a scoring role, Thompson hasn’t stopped rebounding. Thompson is averaging 10.6 rebounds a game, and she has elevated that average during the tournament. In OU’s overtime win over Notre Dame, Thompson pulled down 11 rebounds, then followed that up with a 14-rebound performance in a victory over Kentucky that sent the Sooners to the Final Four in San Antonio. Of those 25 rebounds, seven were offensive, leading to several second-chance baskets for the Sooners. "It’s all anticipation and reading where the ball’s going to come off. You can see where the ball is going once it’s shot,” Thompson explained. "But sometimes, you just outhustle the person that’s going for it. A lot of times, that’s what I do.” Thompson’s hustle helped carry OU to the Final Four. And could help propel the Sooners beyond that. "It’s just about how much you want it,” Thompson said. "You can be slow or quick — I’m one of the slowest — but I’m going to go get that ball. "It’s about having the will to go get it.”
No. 3 OKLAHOMA VS. NO. 1 STANFORD→When: 6 p.m. Sunday →Where: Alamodome, San Antonio →TV: ESPN (Cox 29) →Radio: KOKC-AM 1520 →Tickets: All-session tickets are $175 for lower level, $100 for upper-level sideline and $75 for upper-level end zone, available at www.TicketMaster.com or (877) 622-2849.