Oklahoma will have had 14 days off between games when it opens NCAA Tournament play on Saturday against DePaul in Durham, N.C.
That’s the longest layoff for the OU program since a 20-day game in 1981. Last season, the Sooners had 13 days off before the NCAA Tournament and ended up winning their first two games.
“I think the time to sort of settle for a second and get your wits about you, and say, ‘OK, we can still go do some fantastic things,’” said OU coach Sherri Coale. “Our guys do understand that we can do a lot of really good things and I think they’re ready to play well and feel really good about their performance.”
TEAM PREPARING THE SAME SINCE ANNOUNCEMENT
Coale isn’t sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but she said her team hasn’t changed the way it is preparing since Monday’s announcement that the Sooners made the NCAA Tournament.
“I think it’s a little unusual, but I feel like we’ve gotten better,” Coale said. “I feel like our young guys have really made some strides. It’s almost as if they shed a cloak and grew a new skin. They’ve really had a confidence about them and a relaxed focus about them and it’s been really good.”
OU has spent most of the year switching between freshman Gioya Carter and sophomore Nicole Kornet as the team’s fifth starter. Kornet is expected to start the tournament opener Saturday.
Senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg, when asked if this team is capable of a surprise tournament run:
“Oh yeah, for sure. We’re happy to be in the tournament, but we’re pretty happy with where we’re placed as well. We definitely think we can make a good run.”