Sherri Coale is entering her 25th season as Oklahoma’s head coach and needs to turn the program’s direction around. The Sooners are coming off a 12-18 season. The work gets tougher with the loss of injured Ana Llanusa, who is often considered the heartbeat of the program.
Oklahoma only has nine players available on its roster and, with COVID-19 tests held three times a week, everyone will have to be prepared to contribute. Players to watch include Tatum Veitenheimer and Mandy Simpson, who averaged 6.9 rebounds a game last season.
The Sooners won’t ease into the 2020-21 season. After opening against visiting Houston, OU will face Gonzaga, South Carolina and South Dakota in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, during a three-game stretch followed by a road game to Georgia. The Big 12 season then starts at Kansas, which means five of the first six games will be played away from Norman.
Three players to watch
One of the nation’s top 3-point shooters, Robertson averaged 19.1 points while connecting on 131 3-pointers last season (a Big 12 and OU record). The junior also led the nation by averaging 4.4 3-pointers per contest. She had 15 games of scoring 20-plus points.
The junior averaged 16.3 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game last season. A scoring threat, she ended last year with 18 consecutive games with double-digit scoring. Coale said she focused on improvement with ball handling and shooting during the off-season.
The Holland Hall graduate had a breakout season which included a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 freshman team. She was the only player to score more than 25 points against Baylor last season. Gregory averaged 11.3 points per game in 2019-20.
-- Eric Bailey, Tulsa World