Lady Vols must deal with 'head of the snake' against Sooners

Oklahoma still winning despite rash of injuries

Oklahoma's head coach Sherri Coale instructs her team against UCLA during the women's NCAA college basketball tournament Monday, March 25, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. Oklahoma beat UCLA 85-72. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Photo by AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

Oklahoma's head coach Sherri Coale instructs her team against UCLA during the women's NCAA college basketball tournament Monday, March 25, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. Oklahoma beat UCLA 85-72. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

November was a tough month for the Oklahoma women’s basketball team.

It began with forward Lyndsey Cloman ending her career because of back problems. Before turning the calendar page, forward Kaylon Williams and guard Maddie Manning suffered season-ending injuries. After starting three games during a tournament in Hawaii, Manning suffered a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament in practice.

As if that litany of injuries wasn’t enough, along came December. And down went Whitney Hand. Again.

The All-Big 12 guard, who had suffered a torn right ACL during the 2009-10 season, suffered a tear of the left ACL in Dec. 6 game against North Texas.

After the game, North Texas coach Mike Petersen said; “I just feel for that kid. If young adult adoption was legal, her last name would be Petersen, trust me.”

Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale understood the sentiment.

“She’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of kid,” Coale said this week. “You feel (the loss) on every perceivable level. It’s one of the most difficult injuries I’ve had to get to the other side of.”

The other side for the Sooners has extended deep into March and an NCAA tournament date with No. 2 seed Tennessee (26-7) in the semifinals of the Oklahoma City regional. The teams play at 4:30 p.m. Sunday (TV: ESPN2) at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Top-seed Baylor (34-1) and No. 5 Louisville (26-8) play in the second game of the doubleheader.

The winners meet at 9 p.m. Tuesday for a date in the Final Four.

No. 6 Oklahoma (20-14) advanced by beating No. 3 UCLA 85-72 on Monday night in Columbus, Ohio. The Sooners were outrebounded 50-37. They allowed 36 paint points. Their reserves were outscored 15-6. And they still prevailed.

The game reflected the nature of their season.

“(Hand’s injury) was one where you could’ve just thrown in the towel,” Coale said. “Or you could do the really hard thing and figure out how you’re going on.”

Junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg, another All-Big 12 first-team honoree, has led the way, averaging 18.9 points per game. She’s scored 113 of the team’s 267 3-pointers. She had six treys against UCLA.

Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons is familiar with Ellenberg and her importance to Oklahoma’s success. Simmons described her as “the head of the snake.”

“That’s a great analogy,” UT coach Holly Warlick. “She’s playing very well right now.”

Against UCLA, forward Joanna McFarland grabbed 16 rebounds, one short of her career high. She’s recorded double-figure rebounds in 21 of her last 25 games.

Guard Sharane Campbell scored 19 points, shooting 6-for-8 from the floor.

Center Nicole Griffin, meanwhile, contributed two blocks. The 6-foot-6 junior has 16 in her last six games.

“That’s a great program,” UT assistant Kyra Elzy said. “Coach Coale does a great job. Her kids are very skilled. They play extremely hard. People have stepped up for them.”

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Comments » 22

DC82_Vol writes:

I really don't care about Oklahoma's injuries. We have had a few ourselves. I would have liked to read an article that has input on how TN WBB needs to attack OK. Not, how I should feel sorry for OK.

ps11824 writes:

Just goes to show we are not the only team who deals with injury setbacks. We just have to ADAPT, IMPROVISE & OVERCOME. Attact the snake and kill that sucker. 'Sooner' than later.

voloffaith writes:

Glad to see dc82 being a lil compassionate. The story was telling how the season has gone for OUR next OPPONENT. So it was relevant to hear and read about their strengths and their weaknesses. Shows their toughness and tenacity to have played through their injuries as OUR Lady Vols have done as well. We knew ewe would get it "SOONER" or later.....

fake_basketball writes:

.....in other news a tree fell in the forest and no one cared! How many will be there? 4,000??

movinonup writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

.....in other news a tree fell in the forest and no one cared! How many will be there? 4,000??

It must really suck to be you.............

arkyvol writes:

going into a tournament game against a serious opponent on their home turf, i don't think i'd be tossing around insulting names like 'snake', but maybe that's just me.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Sherri Coale is an excellent coach and her teams are always tough. It doesn't surprise me that they're in the thick of it. From here on out, the Lady Vols have to play their best in order to advance.

I hope they will. I'll be watching. Go Lady Vols!

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

It will depend on which Simmons shows up. I would not start her because of nerves. She will have her family there. Or if she does start if she makes that 12 foot jumper off the glass on the first shot of the game watch out! Man I hope Spani scores 33 pts. I was at that game against A&M and still scratching my head on how we lost with her scoring that much.

voloffaith writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

.....in other news a tree fell in the forest and no one cared! How many will be there? 4,000??

Hey Mr.Sunshine here is your 25cent acknowledgement.....oh btw if it is so fake and unbearable why read the article or comment on it?

GR82BTNVOL writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Hey Mr.Sunshine here is your 25cent acknowledgement.....oh btw if it is so fake and unbearable why read the article or comment on it?

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

suggest_removal_4_all_troll_posts writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

.....in other news a tree fell in the forest and no one cared! How many will be there? 4,000??

A better question is "How many people think you have something of value to say here?"

voloffaith writes:

in response to GR82BTNVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Reread the post and tell me what got me called a notsmart donkey.............he wanted ,as a troll, acknowledgement of his presence so I gave it to him with 25cent attached. Then merely asked a question directly related to his hate/disdain of women's basketball. Sorry I somehow put a bur in your saddle....Try and have a nice Easter for we celebrate HIS resurrection. Anyway goodday...

jt45 writes:

I hope Holly gets someone to stick on Ellenberg the whole game, that girl can shoot from anywhere and will be a tough matchup but I think if the LVs can rebound well and stop second chance points they should win this one. I expect a closer game than the last one and I think Holly will need Graves and Harrison both on the floor quite a bit. We really need to stop Ellenberg the most though.

Theo writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

.....in other news a tree fell in the forest and no one cared! How many will be there? 4,000??

I'm guessing you never got a date to prom.

r2d2 writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

It will depend on which Simmons shows up. I would not start her because of nerves. She will have her family there. Or if she does start if she makes that 12 foot jumper off the glass on the first shot of the game watch out! Man I hope Spani scores 33 pts. I was at that game against A&M and still scratching my head on how we lost with her scoring that much.

We lost because team was tired (except for Spani). Played back-to-back games for first time this season.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Glad to see dc82 being a lil compassionate. The story was telling how the season has gone for OUR next OPPONENT. So it was relevant to hear and read about their strengths and their weaknesses. Shows their toughness and tenacity to have played through their injuries as OUR Lady Vols have done as well. We knew ewe would get it "SOONER" or later.....

Yes, they had their problems. However, I would argue nowhere near the problems The Vols have had. Why?---because look at all the players with at least some experience they had ready for a chance to play, whereas Tenn was left with a very short bench. So many freshmen in key rolls.

golfman1975 writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

.....in other news a tree fell in the forest and no one cared! How many will be there? 4,000??

You are probably 4 feet tall and weigh 400 lbs....
Do you have an 3/4 ton scooter chair?

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

OK, other than Geno, I'm not really up on the politics of women 's basketball; having said that, here's a question...does it slightly bother anyone else to have the article title with the phrase "head of the snake" with OU's basketball coach photo as the backdrop? Did she do something sinister I don't know about?

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

.....in other news a tree fell in the forest and no one cared! How many will be there? 4,000??

Dude, you're DRIPPING with hypocrisy..you chirp about how no one cares, yet YOU took the time to COMMENT about it! What does that say about you?

voloffaith writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

OK, other than Geno, I'm not really up on the politics of women 's basketball; having said that, here's a question...does it slightly bother anyone else to have the article title with the phrase "head of the snake" with OU's basketball coach photo as the backdrop? Did she do something sinister I don't know about?

No. The coach was in the picture ,but the phrase was from a Tennessee player about shutting down their guard.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to voloffaith:

No. The coach was in the picture ,but the phrase was from a Tennessee player about shutting down their guard.

I know, and I don't normally let things like that bother me...just seems like if I were a graphics editor at KNS, I might not have chosen to put the two together in an on-line article.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

OK, other than Geno, I'm not really up on the politics of women 's basketball; having said that, here's a question...does it slightly bother anyone else to have the article title with the phrase "head of the snake" with OU's basketball coach photo as the backdrop? Did she do something sinister I don't know about?

I didn't really read it that way. The expression, "If you cut off the head of the snake, the body dies", is an old one, if perhaps somewhat unappealing in this context. From all I have ever heard, Sherrie Coales is an outstanding person as well as a great coach. She and Pat have always been friends and both have great respect for the other's program. She has done a brilliant job keeping her team competitive under difficult circumstances. The LVs will have their work cut out for them to advance.

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