Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale began her 2019-2020 Media Day on Monday with a hopeful opening statement about the upcoming season. Coale discussed her young team, and how they are continuing to develop in the days leading up to their season opener.
“We’re excited about the opportunities that await us as we really have been focused on getting better every single day," Coale said. "Our mission is to be the best at getting better.”
Coming off of a disappointing season, Sherri Coale said her team is excited about the chance to get back to playing Oklahoma Basketball.
Here's what Coale and the Sooners said:
Ana Llanusa’s leadership role
Guard Ana Llanusa is one of three juniors on this season’s team, which includes Kamryn Lemon and Mandy Simpson. She’s looking to take on more of a leadership role this season.
“I think I have a lot of work to do with the leadership thing, but I’m an encourager and more of a person that leads by example,” Llanusa said. “I still have to work on the acknowledging part of leadership, but I’m being an encourager for my teammates, being a hype-man for my teammates, letting them know, 'Hey, you should do this next time, you should do that next time.' But, you know, it’s a work in progress. I’m working on it, and I think I’ll get there before the season starts.”
Llanusa missed 10 games last year due to a foot injury, including their 72-63 loss to UConn. The Sooners will play UConn once again on Dec. 22, and it’s a game that Ana Llanusa certainly has marked on her calendar.
“Super excited, that’s a game that I did not want to miss,” Llanusa said. “Just to see my teammates do so well in that game, only made me so much more hungry and so much more excited to get to play in it this year.”
Llanusa averaged 18.3 points last season and has been named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, as well as the Cheryl Miller Award watch list.
New coaching staff
Coale wasn’t far into her presser before she began gushing over her brand new coaching staff.
“Our coaching staff has been fantastic," Coale said. “There is great belief in our gym. The energy level that Jackie (Stiles), Coquese (Washington) and Colton (Coale) bring is terrific.
"And that’s contagious. Kids understand that, they see that work ethic, they see that will, they know her history. That gets all over them and that’s a really good thing.”
Washington was the head coach of Penn State for 12 seasons before coming to Norman.
“Coquese (Washington) has great experience, obviously, and is one of the most acute listeners I’ve ever been around,” Coale continued. “And then Colton has a confidence about them and the ability to relate to players, and that helps them reset quickly and help them understand what it is that we see that they can be. So it’s been a great mix. We’re having a great time teaching and working together, and recruiting together.”
Taylor Robertson’s 3-point barrage
Taylor Robertson’s 3-point shooting was one of the bright spots of Oklahoma’s 8-22 season last year. Robertson averaged 14.3 points per game in her freshman season and led all Division I freshman in 3-pointers made. Heading into her sophomore season, Robertson is finding new ways to impact the game.
“I think I can improve on a little bit of everything,” Robertson said. “Obviously getting stronger and faster, and then defensively just learning better ways to guard people. Offensively, just getting better at reading screens and moving without the ball. I’ve been finding new ways to get open and just to be creative, because you can't really do the same thing twice, especially after last year.”
Robertson shot 47 percent from beyond the arc last season and sank 105 3-pointers, which was the most by a freshman in OU history. With the film out on her this year, finding creative ways to get her shot off will be essential in order to continue her 3-point success.
The Sooners will begin their 2019-2020 season on Nov. 4 with an exhibition game at 7 p.m. CT against OCU at the Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma will play its first regular season game at 8 p.m. CT on Nov. 8 at the Loyd Noble Center against Prairie View A&M as part of the WNIT.