Sooner coach Sherri Coale couldn't say the same about her squad's overall effort level, calling it “unacceptable.” It's the latest turn in a ping-pong type of season for OU — play well one game, poorly the next — that has the esteemed coach still searching for answers as the team nears the final stretch of Big 12 play.
“I'm having trouble making sense of a lot with this basketball team, I'll be honest with you,” Coale said. “I've never felt as inept at pushing their buttons. I just cannot seem to get them continually ready.
“I've tried everything I can think of, and then I've started making stuff up and just trying and inventing things to try to get this group ready every day. It's a challenge. It's been a real challenge …
“We'll keep plugging at it. I'll go down trying, that's for sure. But it's been quite a conundrum.”
Coale pointed to a stretch in the first half, where a cast primarily of reserves helped pull the Sooners to a 27-all tie, as evidence that her first unit was not properly engaged to start the game. But after that OU spurt, OSU finished the half on a 7-0 run and then scored the first 11 points of the second half to take control.
In fact, Cowgirl center LaShawn Jones knew then that the game was essentially out of reach.
Because she knew how her team would defend and rebound the rest of the way — or else the treadmill would likely reappear at practice.
“I thought they were done,” Jones said of the Sooners, “because I take pride in our defense and how we play. I knew once we got up by 25 or 20 that there was no coming back for them, especially since we were at home.”