via photos3.newsok.com An obviously upset Whitney Hand watches as St. John's celebrates on her home court.
The Oklahoma women's basketball team lost a heart breaker Tuesday night on their home court in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to St. John's, 74-70. It was a back and forth basically the entirety of the game, but in the end St. John's was able to come up with the crucial plays in crunch time that the Sooners just could not match. It will likely be a bitter pill for this OU team to try and swallow as watching the game you couldn't help but get the feeling that the Sooners were the better team despite being the lower seed.
Unfortunately, a problem that has plagued Oklahoma all season, and really for a majority of Sherri Coale's time as head coach, reared its ugly head yet again. Turnovers. Nineteen of them in fact, many of which were just careless and lead to way too many wasted possessions. After a season low eight in their first round game with Michigan, OU fans were hopeful their Sooners could carry that over into Tuesday night. Sadly, that was not the case and as a result St. John's had nearly twenty more field goal attempts than the Sooners. And with an OU squad that shot 48% from the field, just by the percentages you have to think if they can get a couple of those turnovers back we're probably talking about them making another Sweet Sixteen appearance.
OU was led in scoring by Whitney Hand and her 16 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Aaryn Ellenberg cooled off a tad after scoring 28 against Michigan, failing to reach double digits (eight points) Tuesday night. Nicole Griffin finished with 12 points, Morgan Hook had 10, and the Sooners got seven points each off the bench from Jelena Cerina and Sharane Campbell.
So as the season comes to an end, it's only natural to look to next year. This is a Sooners team that returns their entire roster with the lone exception of post player Jelena Cerina. It seems like a little bit of bad timing that they'll be returning so much from this year's team, with so much experience for all the young players who saw the court this year, but still have to deal with Baylor and the final (thank goodness) year of Brittney Griner. So a conference title seems unlikely, but with Texas A&M off to the SEC and Texas now looking for a new coach OU should be the dominant second team in the toughest women's basketball conference.
Lastly, just want to congratulate the ladies on a solid season! Tough loss, no doubt, but plenty of reasons to be excited for next year. Even if it surely feels forever away for them right now.