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Sherri Coale's Sooners are always in style

Jenni Carlson: Whether the OU women are strong in the backcourt or in the paint, winning remains constant.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: January 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm •  Published: January 15, 2011

NORMAN — Sherri Coale has gone back to a tried-and-true look, ditching the style of a year ago and opting for something different.

And we're not talking about her hair.

Yes, the Oklahoma women's basketball coach has returned to the curly look of old. Those straightened locks of a year ago are a thing of the past. While that might have some folks talking, it's the style change that Coale has made on the court that has the Sooners winning.

Gone is the half-court style, the methodical play that worked to get the ball to the big girl, whether she be named Paris or Olajuwon.

It has been replaced by an up-tempo, guard-dominated approach that has OU off to an undefeated start in Big 12 play as it heads to Texas on Sunday.

“We always try to put our guys in a position to use their gifts,” Coale said. “If you've got the Paris twins, you're crazy if you don't come down and try to throw it to Courtney every single time. You're crazy if you shoot it up and don't give it a chance on the block every single time.

“This group ... our perimeter game is so strong that we're crazy not to take a wide-open three in transition if we have it.”

Coale has a squad this season that hearkens back to 2002 and the Sooners' first Final Four team. With the likes of Stacey Dales, LaNeishea Caufield, Rosalind Ross and Dionnah Jackson, guards were the strength then, and with Danielle Robinson, Whitney Hand, Aaryn Ellenberg and Morgan Hook, they are the strength now.

Just as she did then, Coale is not opposed to throwing four guards on the floor at once. Even though Hook comes off the bench, she is on the floor more than starters Carlee Roethlisberger and Joanna McFarland.

The look works, too.

The Sooners are averaging 8.3 3-pointers a game, shooting 38.7 percent from behind the arc and scoring 80.9 points a game.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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OU at Texas

When: 12:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas

TV: ESPNU (Cox 253)

Radio: KOKC-AM 1520


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