NORMAN — The Oklahoma women’s basketball team hasn’t been great at winning consecutive games this season. In fact, the Sooners only won back-to-back games twice throughout Big 12 Conference play in 2014.
OU still managed to secure its 15th consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament, where the 10th-seeded Sooners will open in Durham, N.C., against No. 7 seed DePaul on Saturday.
After frustrating, inconsistent play over the past several months for the preseason Big 12 favorite Sooners, they now know that one loss ends the season for good.
“You can’t string together two good games if you don’t have a good game, and at least we’ve shown repeatedly that we have one game in our arsenal,” said OU coach Sherri Coale. “The flip side of that is we’ve also shown we have the dinosaur egg in our arsenal, and we have to figure out how to squash that.”
Coale said the most helpful thing in figuring out her team’s problems of late has been time. While OU struggled to catch its breath through a rugged Big 12 schedule, they’ve been off since losing to Texas in the Big 12 Tournament last weekend.
“It’s been huge,” senior point guard Morgan Hook said of the time off. “It’s kinda been time to just relax. We haven’t been having to worry about games and that kind of stuff, and we’ve been able to go back to what we’ve done before and seeing what our strenghs have been.”
ESPN.com women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme listed OU as one of his “last four in” in his final projected field Sunday. Coale said she believes the Sooners’ tough nonconference schedule is what ultimately propelled them into the NCAA Tournament field of 64.
Early on this season, the outlook for Oklahoma was very bright. Their first loss of the season came in overtime to Louisville — a No. 3 seed in the tournament — and they lost by nine points at home to Duke, a No. 2 seed that the Sooners will face again in the second round if both teams win this weekend.
“We have another shot at life, at this basketball season,” Coale said. “We don’t intend to take that for granted.”