Sooner Women Prepare for Virtual Road Game in NCAA Tournament
Oklahoma’s women’s basketball team will open NCAA Tournament play with an officially considered neutral site game on Saturday in Seattle, Washington.
The sixth seeded Sooners won’t exactly feel like its neutral though as they face 11th seeded Gonzaga in the first round.
The Bulldogs are just a few hours from home in Spokane, and should have a good crowd to support them when the game tips off at 5:40 CDT Saturday.
They also have a history of succes in the NCAA Tournament, having been to three Sweet 16’s and an Elite 8 in the last seven years.
OU head coach Sherri Coale expects it to be a pro-Gonzaga crowd, saying “I don’t anticipate the gym will be much different in our game than in the Washington game. I think the place will be packed and I think everyone will be pulling for teams from Washington. I think that’s what we can expect. The great part about that is the NCAA experience. We’ve been to NCAA tournaments in the middle of nowhere where there were 175 people in the gym. We play in the BIG 12 conference where there are thousands of people at every game we play and our guys get to the NCAA tournament and look around like ‘What is happening right now? Are we in the championship tournament?’ That will not be the case this weekend, I’m sure of that. That’s something to look forward to and it’s what the student-athlete experience should be like in the NCAA tournament. I’d rather have people in the gym yelling against us than nobody in the gym yelling at all.”
Oklahoma comes into the Big Dance off two blowout losses, one to Baylor to end the regular season and one to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament.
The Sooners had two weeks to regroup and get ready for the most important game of the year and they say they’re ready to play again, regardless of where and who they’re playing.
Sherri Coale said,
“I think it’s different every year. I think a lot of it has to do with how you’re playing at the time, what your injury situation is like, what your fatigue situation is like and that all depends on depth and the games leading up to those games in the Big 12 Tournament. There are all kinds of factors I think every year is completely its own journey, and for us this year the two-week period has been very advantageous. We had a chance to regroup and reboot as we looked forward to what was coming next and at the same time really look over the ways that we played and the things we wish we could have done better and have to do better. I’m not a big believer in burning film. People say, ‘If you get beat burn the film,’ and I don’t understand what the purpose is of competing if you’re going to go burn the film. The idea of competing is to learn, and this two week period gave us an opportunity to learn. Our guys approached practice extremely well and we’ve had a great week. I felt like the weekend was a turning point, that’s why I think the two weeks were really good for us. We rolled for a while and then hit the weekend and something shifted and we went at a different pace. I know they’re very ready to compete again and that’s the great part of this time of year, the hunger that arrives along with new opponents and new opportunities.”
Oklahoma went through a practice Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena and a media news conference to talk about the game with Gonzaga.