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Sooners' Danielle Robinson doesn't let sickle cell trait slow her down

Danielle Robinson discovered she had the blood disorder after she came to OU. But it hasn't affected the senior point guard on her way to becoming one of the most valuable players the Sooner women have ever had.
BY BERRY TRAMEL Published: March 25, 2011

DAYTON, Ohio — You would never know that Danielle Robinson has sickle cell trait.

Sherri Coale figures some of Robinson's younger teammates probably don't know. Heck, Robinson herself didn't know until she came to the University of Oklahoma, and trainer Scott Anderson detected it during routine blood work.

Good thing the blood disorder was discovered. Now the Sooner staff can monitor Robinson during "extreme situations," Coale said.

What other kind of situation is there for Dani California?

The senior point guard plays basketball like her hair's on fire.

Plays every possession like there's five seconds left in the game. Urgently. Furiously. Dribble, shoot, defend, celebrate, take a seat on the bench with one of those maddening fouls. Doesn't matter.

Robinson is in a hurry.

“I love playing with her,” said OU teammate Whitney Hand. “The emotion you feel when you watch her is what we feel on the court with her. I don't know what I'm going to do when she's gone.”

Hand? What about Coale? Robinson has run the OU offense for four years; her next loss is her last Sooner game, which could come as early as today against Notre Dame in the Dayton Regional semifinals.

“I don't even remember what it's like to run things without her on our basketball team,” Coale said.

Coale has produced her share of unforgettable players. Phylesha Whaley. Stacey Dales. Courtney Paris.

But it's not clear that anyone has been more valuable to Coale's remarkable program than the joyous point guard from San Jose, who has quarterbacked back-to-back Final Four trips and has the Sooners two wins from a third straight.

Robinson walks campus with her ears unplugged and her head up, smiling at all who come her way.

“She loses her mind at volleyball games, goes crazy at football games, shows up at softball,” Coale said.

Coale tells Robinson she can't sneak up on anyone; her laugh can be heard from three hallways down.

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