#12 Oklahoma Women's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Oklahoma Sooners

Overall Rank: #12
Conference Rank: #2 Big 12
Oklahoma Women's College Soccer 2012-2013 Preview
Oklahoma Team Page


The 2011-12 season for Oklahoma was a solid campaign that ended a little earlier than hoped with a home court loss in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament against a very talented St. John’s team. That taste of losing on the home floor, along with a very talented and deep backcourt with a ton of experience, is primed and ready to make a run at contending to be in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and possibly even a Final Four run in 2012-13.

2011-12 Record: 21-13, 11-5
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Sherri Coale
Coach Record: 357-168 at Oklahoma, 357-168 overall

The trifecta in the backcourt of Aaryn Ellenburg, Whitney Hand, and Megan Hook will be the engine that drives this Oklahoma basketball team in 2012-13. Ellenburg is the leading returning scorer and is an excellent sharpshooter from behind the three point arc and creates plenty of havoc on the defensive end of the court. Hand provides the experience and senior leadership that is a critical dynamic to a championship run in women’s college basketball.  She also has a great knack setting up her teammates to score and led the team in assists with 141. Hook brings a nice diverse mix of skills to the table as well.  She is pretty consistent from the field, shooting 43 percent and averaging 10.9 points per game last year to round off one of the more dynamic three guard lineups in all of women’s college basketball.

With another year of maturity this Sooner squad needs to be a little more consistent in its play on the road, especially within the Big 12 Conference slate. It will be important for Coach Coale’s squad to be able to get some key power wins on the road and not have 25 point losses to teams like Texas, a team that was a borderline NCAA Tournament team last year at best.  Also, the development of more scoring down in the low blocks is another question that needs to be addressed for Oklahoma. The Big 12 has its fair share of talented scorers in the post and the growth of Nicole Griffin and Joanna McFarland will be a huge asset to the Sooner season if they can threaten to score in double-figure averages in 2012-13.

Final Projection:
If the Sooners can stay healthy and build on the lessons learned from 2011-12, then Oklahoma should be right there with Baylor in the battle for the Big 12 Conference Championship. The depth of talent in the backcourt is going to make it problematic for teams trying to shut down Ellenburg. If teams focus on Ellenburg too much, it will leave Hand and Hook plenty of open looks and if they can consistently hit from the outside, then the Sooners will be really difficult to deal with and the post would open up for players like Nicole Griffin to get some easy scoring opportunities. The schedule out of conference has a nice balance with teams like UCLA and perennial NCAA sleeper Marist coming to the Lloyd Noble Center. In the conference, Baylor rolls into Norman for a Big Monday showdown on February 25 in front of a national television audience. Look for Oklahoma to get back to being a second weekend NCAA tournament team with a threat to go to the Final Four.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Aaryn Ellenberg, Junior, Guard, 15.5 points per game
Whitney Hand, Redshirt Senior, Guard, 13.3 points per game
Morgan Hook, Junior, Guard, 10.2 points per game
Joanna McFarland, Senior, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Nicole Griffin, Junior, Center, 5.7 points per game

Madness 2013 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#13 Whitney Hand

Madness 2012 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#19 Nicole Kornet
#39 Maddie Manning