NORMAN — Following Wednesday's 64-63 home win over Texas, Oklahoma women's basketball coach Sherri Coale was hesitant to call it a season changer.
“It can be,” she said. “It's what we do with it next; do you turn it into fire or do you let it sift away?
“It's how we capitalize on it. I think what this team has to realize from tonight's game is that we did this with our backs squarely against the wall.”
Indeed, Oklahoma entered Wednesday's game on a two-game losing streak, and was without leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg, who suffered a concussion Sunday. The Sooners beat the Longhorns despite statistics Coale called miserable, like shooting 38 percent from the field and just 30 percent from behind the 3-point line.
“I told them in the locker room that this stat sheet is ugly, but the important number on there is 64,” Coale said. “We had one more point than they did, and we finally figured out how to win a close game.”
Entering Wednesday's game, the Sooners were 2-8 in games decided by 9 points or less. Just last week, Oklahoma blew a 12-point second half lead and lost 76-75 at home to West Virginia.
The biggest difference for Oklahoma against Texas was senior point guard Morgan Hook, who scored a team-high 15 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds.
“We just attached ourselves to Morgan's will,” Coale said. “When you're a point guard with nine rebounds, that's ‘want to.' … She was not going to be denied this win.”
The Sooners were the preseason Big 12 Conference favorites, but have struggled to maintain any game-to-game momentum throughout this season. At a few different points in the season, it has seemed like the team is beginning to play to its potential, only to lose a head-scratcher the next time out.
“It is almost like a relief,” Hook said of Wednesday's win. “Like we still can do this, we can win a close game.
“We played every possession like it was the possession that decided the game. I think overall that mentality that we had and the togetherness that we had at the end is what got us through it.”
Oklahoma returns to action Saturday night at home against Kansas, and then travels to face Big 12 leader Baylor two days later.