NORMAN — Ever the optimist, Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said she believes “losses can be magical,” after her team's 97-92 overtime defeat Sunday to No. 5 Louisville in the Preseason WNIT Championship Game at Lloyd Noble Center.
“Maybe even a lifted ceiling that wouldn't have been there had we been able to hang on at the end,” Coale said. “Who knows what will come of it? But I know the opportunity for growth is tremendous.”
The Sooners jumped to a 17-2 lead on the Cardinals — a Final Four team last season — about six minutes into the game, but Louisville clawed back and took a 5-point advantage into halftime.
Louisville appeared to take firm control of the game in the second half, holding a nine-point lead with seven minutes remaining before Oklahoma went on a 15-4 run over the next four minutes to take the lead.
The Sooners led 85-82 with 27 seconds remaining before Louisville's Jude Schimmel went the length of the floor to make an easy layup and pull the Cardinals within one.
OU freshman Gioya Carter missed the first of two free-throw attempts, and Schimmel scored again to tie the game at 86 and send it to overtime.
After three minutes in overtime, Louisville had taken an 8-point lead, largely by limiting OU senior Aaryn Ellenberg's opportunities.