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OU's Sherri Coale: If Sooners don't turn it over they'll beat Miami

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Modified: March 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm •  Published: March 21, 2011
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Oklahoma women's basketball coach Sherri Coale was asked if winning tonight's second round NCAA Tournament game is as simple as handling Miami's pressure.

"If we don't turn the basketball over we win," Coale said. "If we keep it to around 10 or 12 turnovers we'll win the game. But doing that is another thing entirely."

One of the more athletic teams in the country, the Hurricanes thrive on forcing turnovers.

Miami ranks second nationally in steals, averaging nearly 14 a game.

The Hurricanes force nearly 25 turnovers a game to rank third nationally in turnover margin.

In a first round win over James Madison on Sunday, OU committed 22 turnovers, 15 in the second half.

Trailing by 19 points, the Dukes fought back in part because of their full-court press.

"Hopefully they'll see how bad we played it, they'll press us and we'll shoot a lot of layups," said OU guard Whitney Hand. "Normally we play well against the press if we attack it. The other day we let it come to us. We were playing not to lose. We can't do that."

But it's uncertain how much the Hurricanes (28-4) will use their full-court press.

Miami coach Katie Meier said it varies game to game, depending on the other team's personnel, philosophy and how their guards handle pressure. Sometimes she sprinkles in the full-court press to change the tempo.

"There have been games we haven't pressed at all," Meier said. "One thing you don't get as much credit for is when you have an athletic team, 'Oh, look at Miami's athletes. They cover so much ground.' But we're pretty smart. Our pressure isn't the same. We make a lot of adjustments."

Coale said that's the challenge. Players must be prepared for traps and double-teams anywhere on the court.

"They're chaotic in their defensive pressure," Coale said. "You don't necessarily know where it's coming from. In that vein it reminds me a little of Ole Miss from a couple of years ago, just the random nature of the chaotic trap. They live and die by it."

Baldwin: OU-Miami a good matchup

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