DALLAS – Head coach Sherri Coale along with sophomores Ana Llanusa and Shaina Pellington spent Tuesday meeting with the media and interacting with the students of St. Philips School and Community Center in Dallas.
The Sooners started their day by reading to a preschool class before sitting down for various interviews to preview the upcoming season and taking part in photo shoots.
Fans will get their first opportunity to preview this season’s squad on Thursday, Oct. 25 for the Sooner Showcase. Doors open at 6 p.m. CT with the event set to begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
Here’s more from OU’s day in Dallas:
Head Coach Sherri Coale
On using the non-conference schedule to get ready for the upcoming year:
“Our preseason schedule is tough and we like it that way. It prepares us for the journey in the Big 12. There’s going to be a lot of growth with our team. We’re going to learn a lot about our team with each game. We’ll learn a lot about ourselves and our capabilities so being able to take all that information in and using what we can and trying not to get overwhelmed is important.”
On playing a tough schedule out of conference:
“I’m really not concerned with our record heading into January. I’m concerned with our growth. I want to give our guys opportunities to experience as much as possible so that we can compete in league play and hopefully advance in the NCAA Tournament.”
On the outlook of the Big 12:
“There’s incredible size in this league this season. I think you have to be flexible to prepare for it. For us, basketball is a game of speed and when I say speed – physical speed, yes, but decision-making speed as well. I think that’s the most important weapon. You’re not going to be able to go right through (the size). You’re going to have to find a way around it and the way you do is that is with the decisions you make with and without the ball.”
On this year’s squad and what she enjoys most about her team:
“I love their ability to learn. That’s number one. They are sponges. Also, they don’t take themselves too seriously. That sounds crazy but that enables them to learn. Every mistake they make isn’t the end of the world.”
On the reputation of the Big 12:
“I didn’t feel l like the league from top to bottom was given the amount of credit we deserved last year. Every single night you have to be ready to go and very few leagues in the country play everyone home and away. It’s not just the caliber of competition every night, but it’s the accumulation of that over the course of two months. It’s tough, but if you can survive it you’re as prepared as anyone else in the country for the NCAA Tournament.”
Sophomore Guard Ana Llanusa
On the start of practice this fall:
“It’s been great for us. We put a lot of work in during the summer so this fall its allowed us to show off our improvements we’ve made. Shaina (Pellington) worked a lot summer on getting better with her shot. You can do a lot of individual work, but when you’re actually practicing and playing and making shots that’s a big deal.”
On what’s she learned about this team so far:
“Just learning about each other’s strengths and making sure that everyone else on this team executes and helps others succeed to their maximum potential. Shaina isn’t a catch shooter, so I know that I need to drive and give her time to shoot. Being a point guard, Shaina knows what others need. I think that’s going to help us offensively. We want to play to our strengths as much as we can.”
Sophomore Guard Shaina Pellington
On the makeup of this team:
“We’ve all been working on our game. The thing that’s unique about this team is that everyone brings something different to the table. We all have our roles and we’re going to do them extremely well. I feel like the one thing that will make us a better team is to build off the connection we made over the summer as a team.”
On adding more to her game:
“Becoming a triple-threat player was something I wanted to do over the summer. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made and I hope that’s going to make it more difficult for teams to guard us offensively. I’m really proud of how we’ve all worked on certain things that will make us better players.”
OU opens its 2018-19 schedule on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. CT with an exhibition game at Lloyd Noble Center against Northeastern State. The Sooners open the regular season on Nov. 9 against Western Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT.
Season tickets are available by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 456-4668 or by clicking here.