Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale didn't know much about Central Michigan before the Chippewas were announced as the Sooners' opponent for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
But as Coale has studied the opponent more, a matchup problem has become more and more apparent.
“The more film I watch, the more impressed I am with them,” Coale said. “They've got really big guards. They're a tough matchup for us.”
No. 11-seed Central Michigan's three starting guards have a combined five inches on the sixth-seeded Sooners' set.
Keeping the guards in front of them will be key.
“Staying in front of the ball is a big thing with them,” point guard Morgan Hook said. “They can all penetrate and can all get to the rim. If they go in and post, you've got to fight your own battle down there and try to get in there and front the best you can and then just know your teammates are going to be there to help.
“It's just kind of a trust thing when it comes down to it.”
The Chippewas got much bigger at guard in late February when point guard Jessica Green was lost for the season with an ACL tear. Brandie Baker, a 6-footer, took over the position from that point on.
“They have some very good athletes who are big and strong and put the ball on the floor and go to the rim,” Coale said. “So containing that explosive drive is going to be a big part of it, to turn them into passers. They shoot it well too but I think that's secondary to them getting to the rim and making plays.”
Being a tough matchup works both ways, though, as the Sooners have much more size inside with forwards Nicole Griffin (6-foot-6) and Joanna McFarland (6-foot-3) matched up against the Chippewas' forward tandem of Jessica Schroll and Taylor Johnson, both 5-foot-11.
A lot of the weight of that will fall on Hook, working to feed Griffin and McFarland the ball while looking for opportunities to go to the rim.
“It all starts from transition,” Hook said. “If we can score in the first six seconds most of the time, or if not just look for (Griffin) in there. She's probably going to have a 5-10, 5-11 girl on her and we need to take advantage of that.”