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OU women ready for Big 12 Tournament opener

By Travis Haney, Staff Writer, Published: March 8, 2012

— The good news for the Oklahoma women's basketball team: The Sooners have not lost consecutive games since January. The bad news: They haven't won consecutive games since January.

“When we're good, we're really good,” junior captain Whitney Hand said. “When we're bad, we're pretty terrible.”

Even though OU wound up second in the Big 12, behind only undefeated and top-ranked Baylor, it was quite the ride during a 5-5 finish.

Just examine the past couple of weeks. The Sooners upset ranked Texas A&M at home – and then were beaten by 25 at Texas. They then won by 11 at Texas Tech – and then played flat Sunday against Kansas in just their second home Big 12 loss.

Inconsistency defined the final month, as evidenced by the alternating wins and losses. That's no longer an option for OU; it's the postseason.

The Sooners (19-12) will begin Big 12 Tournament play at 5 p.m. today in the quarterfinals in Kansas City.

With several freshmen playing significant minutes and a new point guard, OU coach Sherri Coale knew there could be up-and-down shifts in performance this season. It has not been altogether unexpected, for sure.

So, it's difficult to know, really, how the Sooners will fare when they're forced to play consecutive games this week – or meaningful games next week in the NCAA Tournament.

Fingers crossed?

“When it's survival mode, we usually perform pretty well,” she said. “You wish it wasn't like that. You wish we were up every night. But we're saying ‘this is it.' When you lose, you go home. We're hoping that mentality spurs an urgency.”

Then there's the fact that what OU does this week directly impacts what happens in next week's NCAA field.

The Sooners know they're hosting the first and second rounds at Lloyd Noble Center. But what will they be seeded – and who will be sent to Norman to face them? The more wins in Kansas City, the easier the road to the Sweet 16. As of now, OU is likely a 7 or 8 seed.

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