What Ellenberg does best is score points, and she’s done that as prolifically as almost anyone in Oklahoma women’s basketball history.
Still, she entered her senior season hoping to improve her leadership skills, which lagged over her first three seasons on campus, when players like Whitney Hand and Joanna McFarland were around to take on that role.
“Slowly but surely,” Ellenberg said when asked how her leadership has come along this season. “I’m not all the way there yet. I don’t think there’s a ceiling for anything of that sort. There’s always room for improvement. I think I’ve done a better job than I have in the past.
“It’s just never really been my personality to be like that.”
Last season, with Hand and McFarland on the roster, Oklahoma thrived in the underdog role once it hit the NCAA Tournament, upsetting UCLA in the second round to secure a spot in the Sweet 16.
Coale believes OU is capable of making a similar run this year, but added that “this team is wound completely differently than last year’s team.”
The coach’s confidence stems from Oklahoma’s ability to play well with its back squarely against the wall this year. Ellenberg missed two games with a concussion in February, and OU won both of them.
“I don’t think many people besides us thought we could win those games,” Coale said. “There’s some inherent grit in that. We haven’t seen that as full scale as any of us would like, there is some grit in there. If we can get that to coagulate, I think we can do anything we want to do.”