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Oklahoma women's basketball: Pat Summitt shaped Sherri Coale, Sooner players

Coale: “I don't know if there are any words” for what Summitt did for women's college basketball. “No one will ever rival what Pat Summitt's done.”
By Stephanie Kuzydym Published: March 27, 2013

/articleid/3774988/1/pictures/1995419">Photo - OU head coach Sherri Coale, left, and Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt talk before the women's college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma and Tennessee at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Monday, February 2, 2009. BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: KOD
OU head coach Sherri Coale, left, and Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt talk before the women's college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma and Tennessee at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Monday, February 2, 2009. BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: KOD

“I remember I was like, ‘I can't believe I'm playing against Pat Summitt,'” Hand said. “It was a dream come true. And she's just a classy, classy woman and her program's very classy.”

That game for Hand and then-freshman Jasmine Hartman was full of memories. It broke Sooner star Courtney Paris' NCAA-record 112 straight games with a double-double. It was supposed to be Summitt's 1,000 career victory. Hand remembered Tennessee had brought special game balls for the celebration. Coale remembered the national media.

“It was an amazing atmosphere and to play Pat Summitt — it was a milestone game,” Hartman said. “So we were really just excited about that game. ... Whitney Hand was making all those threes and just setting it on fire for us. I mean it was just a great game.”

Although that game kept Summitt from her 1,000th victory, the next season, Oklahoma went to Knoxville, Tenn., and lost.

Even though on Sunday the Sooners will not face Summitt's coaching directly, they said she has left a lasting legacy on that program and the way it plays. The Sooners still see the up-tempo game plan in film —  and they're just as excited for Sunday to come even with Summitt being the head coach emeritus.

“It's just a legacy that no one can really touch,” Hartman said. “Once you see those eyes —  I know her players talk about it all the time, but even on the television, just watching her eyes, you're like, ‘Wow I want to be like her. I want to be out there going to the camps and just being a part of the legacy that no one has touched yet.'”


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