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OU women’s notebook: Stanford's Jayne Appel still struggling with sprained right ankle


uot;It’s a really big deal in Norman, Oklahoma, to be on the women’s basketball team. It’s a really big deal in Norman, Oklahoma, to go watch the women’s basketball team. I think for a lot of California kids, that’s very attractive.”

Different strokes
OU was in the Final Four last season, but the Sooners say their mindset was different.

"We were happy just being there,” Robinson said. "Yeah, we were a one seed, and this year, we’re an underdog, but it’s a totally different mindset. We’re going there to win. We’re not going there to just be part of the events, to dress up, to go to dinner, play one game and leave.”

Crossing paths
Robinson and fellow point guard Jeanette Pohlen keep crossing paths. They met in the 2007 California high school state finals, then were teammates last summer in the World University Games and now meet in the Final Four.

"She’s a great person,” Robinson said. "We’ve actually become pretty close friends. I was excited when she hit that shot last week” to beat Xavier and put Stanford in the Final Four.

No Cardiac Cardinal
Stanford is 35-1. Only three games have been decided by less than 15 points: an 80-68 loss to Connecticut, a 65-61 win at UCLA and a 55-53 win over Xavier in the regional title game.

Meanwhile, the Sooners are 9-0 in games decided by five points or less, including five games decided by one point or in overtime.

Coale said that gives OU an advantage, "just because our kids believe we’re going to win. That’s a reflection of the schedule we played all year.”

Remember the Alamo
Stanford beat OU 88-74 in the 2006 regional semifinals at San Antonio’s SBC Center. The only player remaining from either team is Stanford guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who had six points, six rebounds and four assists in that game.

Now Gold-Onwude is Stanford’s defensive stopper. She’ll be asked to dog Robinson or Nyeshia Stevenson most of the game.

"Ros, she’s going to have to play really well,” said VanDerveer. "I’m not sure where we’ll start her. She is kind of a lockdown defender.”

Bad omen
Before OU’s practice, OU’s Sooner mascot played Stanford’s Tree in a quick game of one-on-one. Sooner handled the ball very well but missed a few drives. The Tree’s costume kept him from dribbling, but he unmasked himself and freed his arms enough to launch a 3-pointer. It swished, and the Tree won 3-0.

Beauty shop talk

OU’s Thompson was asked to assess the hairstyles of the Final Four coaches.

“I’ll have to go with my coach,” Thompson said. “I’m going with Sherri all the way. I like it straight. She’s always been known for the curly, but straight makes her look that much better.”

What about UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey? “Geno’s always got the smooth, silk Italian hairstyle. Mulkey, the mullet, that’s just her style. That’s what she’s doing. It might be different on game day, it might not. That’s her style. Can’t judge it.”

Kolache festival

Coming back to Texas has sent Stanford’s Ogwumike in search of her favorite culinary item she can’t find back in California.

Ogwumike developed a taste for kolaches, a Czech breakfast pastry sold throughout the Lone Star State, while growing up in Cypress, Texas. She says she can’t find anything like it in California.

“Hopefully, I’ll buy everyone kolaches,” Ogwumike said.

Red Ribbon week

Twenty years ago this week, OU restored its women’s basketball program after an eight-day hiatus. And Stanford won the NCAA women’s basketball championship, with VanDerveer wearing a red ribbon in a show of solidarity against OU’s original decision.

“If you go back and look at the shirt I was wearing, it had a ribbon on it,” VanDerveer said. “And thank goodness they didn’t (drop the program), because look at ... what a great program they have.”

No neutrality

OU senior associate athletic director Gloria Nevarez’s last day on the job is Friday. She begins her new position, Pac-10 associate commissioner, on April 19. So does she have mixed feelings about the OU-Stanford game?

“None,” Nevarez said, indicating her Sooner allegiance. “I believe.”