NORMAN — Oklahoma controlled its Big 12 fate when it took the floor Sunday against Kansas. By late afternoon, though, the Sooners were left waiting for a blind draw to know who and when they would play in next week's conference tournament.
They did win the 50-50, even if they didn't win their final regular season game. As the 2 seed, OU will play the Missouri-Oklahoma State winner at 5 p.m. Thursday in Kansas City, Mo. The Sooners and Texas A&M, both 11-7 in the conference, were down to the fifth tiebreaker — the draw.
A flat effort against the Jayhawks did OU no favors, taking the seeding out of its hands. KU was the more energized team throughout in an 83-77 victory inside Lloyd Noble Center, even though the Sooners had an opportunity to claim the No. 2 seed by merit.
“I thought Kansas played incredibly inspired and we didn't,” said OU coach Sherri Coale, who became increasingly terse during the course of a 3-minute, 20-second postgame news conference. “We were as flat as could be. We knew what was on the line, what was at stake … and I can't explain it. I wish I could.”
Coale then took the blame for the loss, saying she did not have the team prepared. She said she would soon assess what needs to change before the Sooners begin postseason play.
“I don't know,” she said, when asked how specifically she might adjust. “I'll figure it out before (Monday).”
OU trailed 10-3 from the start and did not lead until the opening minutes of the second half. That slight three-point advantage was short-lived, though, after a 9-0 KU burst pushed the Jayhawks to a 47-39 lead with 13:28 to go.
The Sooners would intermittently slice into the lead, but they never threatened down the stretch. They cut the deficit to six points on five different occasions in the final 90 seconds, but Kansas repeatedly kept OU at a distance by making its final 14 foul shots.