The Oklahoma women’s basketball team has shown significant improvement over its past three games — even with Monday’s atrocious first half showing at Baylor — but still sits at .500 in Big 12 Conference play with two regular-season games to go.
The Sooners appear likely to make their 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, but a loss in either Saturday’s game at TCU or Monday’s home contest against Texas Tech would put that streak in jeopardy.
“I think they’re in,” said ESPN women’s basketball bracketologist Charlie Creme, who currently has the Sooners pegged as a No. 8 seed. “They’re not necessarily playing great basketball, but there’s not a lot pushing from the outside right now.
“They couldn’t afford to lose these next two games to relatively bad teams, then turn around and go out early in the Big 12 Tournament.”
Oklahoma went nearly a month without stringing together two consecutive wins, then earned back-to-back home victories over Texas and Kansas with leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg sidelined with a concussion.
Then Monday, Big 12 frontrunner Baylor was thoroughly crushing the Sooners into the second half — leading by as many as 32 points with 15 minutes to go — before an impressive comeback, but Oklahoma still fell short in an 96-89 defeat.
“I think it showed that we have fight in us still, and we can score,” said senior point guard Morgan Hook. “We scored 58 points in the second half against Baylor. It’s hard to look back and say it was a positive because of how bad we played in the first half, though; it shouldn’t have even come to that.”
Hook said her immediately goal is to rise to fourth place in the Big 12 standings. Right now, the Sooners are tied with Iowa State for fifth in the league.
“We have to win these next two games regardless,” Hook said. “It’s just kind of a pride thing now; we don’t wanna be sixth in the league even if it does mean we still make the tournament. We’re still fighting for fourth place in the league.”