NORMAN — Sherri Coale talks a lot about eyes. The look you can see in a player’s eyes. The vision that flows from a player’s eye, both for what’s happening on the court and what could come.
Coale likes the look in her current players’ eyes. She likes it very much. Coale’s Sooners are in the Women’s Final Four, matched against Stanford at 6 p.m. Sunday in San Antonio’s Alamodome. Few saw this coming. But few looked with normal eyes. "My kids, they just win,” Coale said of her OU players. "They just believe, and we talk about the eyes and the look you need to have in your eyes when you compete for championships.” Coale saw the necessary look in the first few minutes of the regional championship game against Kentucky, which had OU in a 15-2 hole. "Even when we were dismal in the first five minutes, the look in the huddle was one of belief,” Coale said. "These guys have great eyes. They’re full of faith and belief and commitment, and they lock in on me in huddles. They listen. They buy into everything. They buy into one another. They buy into our coaching staff.” Some civilians can detect that look, particularly in senior Amanda Thompson’s legendary locked-in stare. Some Sooners are starting to see a difference in the eyes of teammates. Of OU center Abi Olajuwon, Thompson said, "You can see it in her eyes how much she wants to win.” Olajuwon said the Sooner starters, huddling in pre-game, know the required look. She and Thompson share it for a second standing on the block awaiting a foul shot, reminding each other that every rebound belongs to them. But this eye chatter is not all stoic concentration.