Jenni Carlson: You are the lone women’s college basketball expert on ESPN.com to pick Oklahoma to go to the Women’s Final Four. Why the Sooners?
Kara Lawson: I really like the way they played toward the end of the season. I thought they competed really well, especially against Connecticut. In the Big 12 Tournament, they had a really good run in a conference that’s the best this year. Then, of course, match-ups come into it as well. I don’t want to say they had a favorable draw because I think sometimes that kind of gives a negative connotation to the teams who are ranked higher in their bracket. But I felt like they could compete really well with the one and the two seeds within that bracket. JC: Did anything you saw in the first two rounds make you reconsider your pick? OU won, but it wasn’t pretty. KL: I’m sitting here telling you that I0 put a lot of stock into the end of the season, and now, I’m going to tell you I don’t put much stock in how you win. (Laughs.) But in the tournament, you’re going up against different styles and you’re going up against teams whose personnel maybe you’re not too familiar. No, they haven’t been blowing them out like some of the one seeds have, but ... I won’t say I’m really concerned about the way they’re playing. JC: You were very complementary of Sherri Coale during the selection show. What have you thought about the job that the Sooner coach has done? KL: I said on the selection show that this might be the best coaching job she’s done in her career when you look at what she lost. Not just the Paris twins but Whitney Hand. Losing her, not only what she brings on the court but her leadership, her energy, her passion for the game, that’s a lot for a team to have to recover from. Then on top of that, to take players who their entire careers have been role players ... and all of a sudden they have to be consistent and they have to produce, that’s pretty remarkable to me. I certainly, after Whitney Hand went down, would not have foreseen this team would be playing the way they are and would be where they are right now.