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Women’s Final Four: Cardinals, Sooner women gave us a classic

by Jenni Carlson Modified: April 6, 2009 at 10:13 am •  Published: April 6, 2009
ST. LOUIS — Nyeshia Stevenson snagged the pass from Danielle Robinson, eyed the basket and nailed the shot as final seconds ticked off the clock.

Who could’ve guessed after that exclamation mark to the first half that this game would come down to another Robinson-to-Stevenson buzzer beater?

Who could’ve imagined that this Final Four, this season, this era would end with a last-second prayer?

Louisville 61, OU 59.

That the Sooners lost to the Cardinals is no great shame. Louisville is a worthy foe with a talented star, a savvy coach and a great ability to find ways to win.

That the Sooners lost this way, though, is a shame.

In the first half, they were the aggressors. They were the dominators. They were the team on a collision course with Tuesday night’s championship game.

But now, their season is over, finished short of a title, which is no indictment with Connecticut in the field, but also finished short of a title game that was firmly in their grasp for 20 minutes Sunday night.

What went wrong?

"They came right out swinging, and we didn’t respond very well,” Sooner coach Sherri Coale said of the second half. "They just swung and swung and swung, and we didn’t swing back.”

It started with the very first play of the second half.

Louisville got a quick shot from Angel McCoughtry, the Cardinal star who missed all seven shots she took in the first half. She missed again, but reserve Keshia Hines came up with the rebound, went up for a shot and got fouled by Courtney Paris.

"That kind of took all the momentum from us,” Sooner sharpshooter Whitney Hand said. "We never got it back.”

They couldn’t get any traction on offense or defense.

The Cardinals started hitting shots, something they struggled to do in the first half. Even when they missed, they came up with offensive rebounds and scored second-chance points, something else they struggled to do in the first half.

Their field goal percentage in the first half: 22.2 percent.

Their percentage in the second half: 47.1.

"We let them get too many second chance opportunities and offensive rebounds,” Paris said.

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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