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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The chaos continues when the Hurricanes are on offense.

All five Miami players will crash the boards.

Guards Riquna Williams and Shenise Johnson average a combined 41 points a game but also average nearly 14 rebounds.

"They're very athletic," said OU senior Carless Roethlisberger. "Even their point guard averages six rebounds... Boxing out is going to be very necessary because we're not going to win the jumping battles."

Meier said the Sooners pose a different type of challenge with four players capable of draining 3-pointers. She said the Hurricanes' biggest mental challenge is to not leave shooters.

"When they get hot from 3, they're as good as any team in the country," Meier said. "They spread the floor and have everything you want. It's going to be a big challenge to defend the entire court."

Williams, one of the nation's leading scorers, said the key to the Hurricanes making their second Sweet 16 trip in school history is to apply pressure and disrupt OU's rhythm.

"We have to contain their guards and keep them out of their comfort zone," Williams said. "We can't give them open looks. We can't let them get comfortable and do what they do. There is no room for mistakes."

Both teams like to play up tempo. Both teams are ranked among the top offenses in the country.

Miami averages 79.8 points, Oklahoma 76.1.

"We're going to run regardless," said OU senior guard Danielle Robinson. "That's part of our identity. We can't stop just because they are a running team, too."

Coming off back-to-back Final Four seasons, the Sooners feel they're playing their best basketball of the season. How they handle Miami's pressure could determine whether OU makes its eighth Sweet 16 appearance under Coale.

"We just have to attack it," Hand said. "We've seen it before against teams like (Texas) A&M. We can't let their pressure suck energy out of us like what happened the second half (against James Madison). I think we learned a lot from that."

Baldwin: OU-Miami a good matchup
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