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January 29, 2013

BIG 12 WOMEN'S BB: Coale sees positive signs after battle with Baylor

NORMAN — After Saturday’s 82-65 loss at Ferrell Center, the No. 20 Oklahoma women have lost five straight games to Baylor going back to 2011.

Saturday, they were in the game, down nine points with 11:49 remaining, but were down 26 points with 4:49 remaining.

The Sooners picked up 33 points from junior shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg, 12 points and 16 rebounds from senior forward Joanna McFarland, and eight points, five rebounds and five assists from junior point guard Morgan Hook. They received very little from anybody else.

Nonetheless, Sherri Coale sounded like a coach who saw more good than bad as she exited the Sooners’ meeting with the nation’s No. 1 team, saying, “I thought we did some really, really good things.”

Baylor was bigger and more athletic at pretty much every position, yet the Sooners (15-4, 5-2) hung with the Lady Bears (18-1, 8-0) on the glass, only outrebounded 44-40.

“They have emphatic rebounders,” Coale said. “So, to be able to stay with them in that category bodes well for us moving forward. That’s been sort of an Achilles’ heel for us.”

Even the fact that OU was within 10 points as late as it was and kept the final number inside 20 is more than many teams have managed against Baylor.

The Lady Bears have one loss, by a point to No. 6 Stanford, but have beaten many strong teams by big margins: 80-51 over No. 5 Kentucky, 76-53 over No. 9 Tennessee, 83-49 over No. 12 Oklahoma State and 67-39 over No. 24 Iowa State.

“As you come into this game, yeah, you’re doing everything you can to win it, but you’re also trying to make sure you get better at the things that will help you win games in the future, and I thought we did that today in terms of our execution, in terms of our rebounding,” Coale said. “It got away from us a couple of times in our sureness (with the ball), but still we’ve come in here and turned it over a lot more than 15 times.”

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