NORMAN — As the Oklahoma women's basketball team watched film the day before its home finale against Kansas, what amounted to an impromptu intervention broke out.
The Sooners had lost four of their previous five games, and some players began to realize their program's 13-year run of NCAA Tournament appearances might be in jeopardy.
“I don't think everyone had it in their heads that if we don't win, we might not make the NCAA Tournament,” said senior forward Joanna McFarland.
Oklahoma won two tough games over the next three nights, earned third place in the final Big 12 standings and carry big momentum into Saturday's 8:30 p.m. conference tournament opener against West Virginia in Dallas.
The Sooners (21-9 overall, 11-7 Big 12) say they feel like an entirely different team after their impressive regular-season finish, and attribute it to an improved sense of on-court togetherness.
“We can all tell when we're playing together and when we're trying to force things and play on our own island,” said junior guard Morgan Hook. “I think we've done a good job of nipping it in the bud if it starts early.”
There are few games that better illustrate those problems than the Sooners' last meeting with West Virginia, which cruised to an 83-62 home win Feb. 3.
That defeat began Oklahoma's frustrating February, during which the Sooners went 3-5 with four losses by 10 or more points.
OU got a much-needed break, though; the Sooners went nearly a week between their Feb. 25 home loss to No. 1 Baylor and the Kansas win.