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Old 10-10-2017, 05:41 AM   #1
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Default OU women start practice committed to defense

By Tyler Palmateer
CNHI Sports Oklahoma
When Oklahoma women’s basketball guard Peyton Little graduated, she left a void on the defensive end after plucking 56 steals in 2016. OU coach Sherri Coale isn’t just looking for one person to fill that role. “I think it’s a wholesale buy-in, where our guys have to fall in love with guarding people,” Coale said. “We had however many games last year where we scored 80-plus points and you lose the game. We’re scoring plenty of points to win. We’ve gotta fall in love with guarding people. “It’s not a magical formula. … It’s guys who are convicted about guarding and find a way — even if they have to trick themselves — to enjoy getting stops and value that time together. We’re trying to build on that right now.” Senior guard Manning is a notorious offensive threat, but understands the defensive commitment Coale wants. “It’s all about pride. If you get scored on, you’re not letting that person score on you in the same way [again]. That kind of creates a game inside the game for you,” Manning said.

Rich’s absence: Manning understands what guard redshirt-sophomore guard Morgan Rich is experiencing. Rich tore her anterior cruciate ligament during an offseason practice and will miss this season. Manning, a senior and OU’s leading returning scorer, has suffered through two ACL tears. “That second one is hard to take. Morgan tore one in high school,” said Manning. “Just being there for her during the rehab, that was the biggest thing for me. You’re alone that whole time you’re rehabbing. Just not letting her be alone and not letting her feel like she’s not part of the team.” Rich’s absence meant OU held its first full-length practice Monday with just nine players. It required an adjustment, Coale said.
“That means setting up drills a little differently sometimes, balancing where things happen in your practice. We have a great core of scout guys, which is very helpful,” Coale said. Senior center Vionise Pierre-Louis views the shorthanded roster as a chemistry-building opportunity. “[With fewer players] you know each other in detail, in-depth,” Pierre-Louis said. “I feel like I can communicate more and I can relate more with the girls.”

Knowing expectations: Manning returns as OU’s leading scorer after averaging just over 12 points per game last season. She said wanting the ball and looking to score more has been a focus during the offseason. “Everybody in Norman, Oklahoma, has told me they wanted me to score more in the past two years. It’s no secret. That’s what the coaches want, that’s what my team needs,” Manning said. “But now it’s inside me. It’s part of my DNA. I get mad if I don’t get the ball, which is a good thing for our team.”

A good sign: Players voiced disappointment with committing 13 turnovers during a 90-minute span of Monday’s workout. Coale was tickled by that response. OU averaged 15.6 turnovers a game in 2016. “[Thirteen] times in a game is pretty good. Twelve is kind of the magic number. If you can keep it under 12 you’re gonna beat most people, especially the way we shoot it,” Coale said. “I like them thinking 13 is awful. That’s a good sign.”
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: OU women start practice committed to defense

Sounds like Manning is stepping up and taking a Leadership role... maybe she can have a Big12 POY type of season...

With only 9 players Penzo could be forced to see some minutes:..
“The area you recruit from often has to do with the level your program has reached,” said Auriemma
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: OU women start practice committed to defense

I must admit that I have a lot more confidence in this group of seniors than I have had in the past couple of years. Maddie, Vivi, and Gabby have exhibited effort under fire. Few have progressed as much as Vivi. I think I can see an attitude emerging from LaNesia that could prove valuable as a senior.

I tend to like EJ's apparent growth, and I have always felt Penzo was just a cure away from being a good on-court presence. When I think of how many times others drove into the lane, only to lose the ball, Penzo's control is a welcome change. If she has developed any kind of shot, she can play.

The three freshmen: I am very hopeful.

We graduated six, and we may be better.

I just finished watching a series of our games from last year. It is stunning the difference when Maddie comes out firing. I was amused by the Iowa State game in which we and Iowa State alternated making runs of threes. Peyton had zero after three quarters. With Iowa State watching Maddie, Vivi, and Gabby, Peyton was open. She hit for sixteen in the fourth quarter, simply because she was relatively unguarded.
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: OU women start practice committed to defense

I've heard the talk about defense every year at the start of the year. Dont believe it.
If Maddie will only get aggressive offensively we will be a much better team. I've been waiting for three years for her to do that.
I feel for Morgan. How frustrating! Glad she has Maddie.
EJ will have to take up some minutes at center. I think she will do better than we expect.
Turnovers wont diminish.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: OU women start practice committed to defense

Right now, with this team and coaching staff, it's all talk as far as I am concerned. Waiting, for once in the last five years, for all the talk to turn into grit, guts, determination, action and victories (and no silly losses early in the season).

I'm hopeful that the new players will be a factor and help force Manning, Vivi and the rest to do better.

I think next season could be a defining one for the season. We can really make some headway -- if we only will.

It's progress or collapse. We've been too close to collapse over the last few seasons.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: OU women start practice committed to defense

What I find disconcerting is that with 1 player in her 6th year and 4 players in their 4th year in Norman they are still trying to get them to "buy in" on playing good defense.
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: OU women start practice committed to defense

It is the same story at the beginning of every season, but that's really when everyone is really pumped up and itching to get out there. Even though we have smaller number this year i really have a feeling that we will have a better season. I'm expecting to see a lot of improvement from EJ and Laneisha, and hoping that Penso can do something, i've seen a couple of good passes (that most of the time our girls weren't ready for) in the past seasons, but nothing else from her. I'm still sad Rich is out, she could have been a contributor for sure. Either way I can't wait, we have less than a month!
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: OU women start practice committed to defense

Maddie, Gabbi, and Vivi are good players and good weapons to have, which is certainly a reason to be optimistic.

However, they are rarely ON at the same time. We need all 3 of them to be aggressive, healthy, and out of foul trouble every single night if we want to be competitive.

They'll probably put the team their backs and grit out a few wins, but we'll also probably get blown out a few times against teams that have more depth.
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