NORMAN — Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale is not one to let an opportunity go to waste.
That’s why her team left Norman very early Monday morning, though it would not tip off against Arkansas until 6 tonight at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu.
By arriving early, the Sooners would have more time to adjust to the four-hour time difference, do some sightseeing — already they’ve spent a day at Pearl Harbor — but also get ready for three important games.
After Arkansas, it’s Oregon at 6 p.m. Saturday and Hawaii at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
OU (2-1) fell two spots to No. 13 in the latest polls and is still smarting from a home-court loss UCLA dealt it Nov. 14. The Sooners have since topped St. Louis, more than doubling up the Billikens 68-33, but a lackluster second half still left them with plenty to prove.
Of the three teams standing in OU’s way this weekend, the Hogs are the prize. Arkansas is coming off consecutive 20-win seasons and went as far as the Sooners, the second round, at last season’s NCAA tournament.
This year’s Razorbacks are 3-0 with blowout victories over Jackson State and at Oral Roberts. At Tulsa, in between, they prevailed over former Norman High coach Matilda Mossman’s Golden Hurricane 64-56 in overtime.
Oregon has yet to win in two tries, enduring a pair of home-court losses to St. Mary’s and Portland State. Hawaii enters 1-3, the lone victory over Tennessee-Martin, 73-69. Hawaii may be the only team in the nation to have already played two No. 1 teams, losing to Stanford 69-42 and Baylor 77-42 on back-to-back days last week.
If the Sooners can run their Hawaii table, they’ll stand a great chance to go on a long winning streak.
Upon returning home, their next seven games will be at Lloyd Noble Center. They’ll meet Northwestern (La.) State, Marist and North Texas before taking on No. 17 Vanderbilt Dec. 16.
Today could be the start of something.
Clay HorningFollow me @email@example.com