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Oklahoma Hopes For Good Health And Title
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent


Story line
A season that could have been lost or written off instead became a third-place finish in the Big 12 and another trip to the Sweet 16 for Oklahoma With four starters returning and a talented group of newcomers, the Sooners hope that staying healthy will lead to a special season and a league championship. Senior guards Aaryn Ellenberg and Morgan Hook have four years of experience while seniors Portia Durrett and Nicole Griffin should be steady contributors in the front court. Gioya Carter, a 5-9 freshman guard, has been impressive in practice and could be a factor providing a spark off the bench.

Coach: Sherri Coale, 381-179 in 17 years.
Last season: 24-11 overall, 11-7 in Big 12, tied 3rd.
NCAA Tournament: Lost in regional semifinal.

Top players
Senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg, senior guard Morgan Hook, senior forward Nicole Griffin, junior guard Sharane Campbell, senior forward Portia Durrett, sophomore forward Nicole Kornet, freshman guard T'ona Edwards, freshman guard Gioya Carter.

Coach Coale says
"We have a really, really nice blend of some older guys, who need to win a Big 12 Championship and feel an intense desire to do that, and a bunch of younger guys who really want to do it. It's a nice mix.They understand the expectation and they embrace it. I think this senior class had the disadvantage of playing their entire careers in the league with Britney Griner, truthfully. They understand that they have a bit of a window, maybe."

Notable
This is the fourth time that Oklahoma has been picked in the preseason to finish No. 1 in the Big 12. OU was also picked No. 1 in 2001-02, 2006-07 and 2008-09, winning at least a share of the Big 12 championship in each of those seasons. Oklahoma has won six regular season Big 12 titles  … Maddie Manning, a freshman guard who red shirted last season after suffering an ACL season, will again be sidelined this season after suffering another ACL injury. … Senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg has 284 3-pointers in her career. The NCAA record of 392 is held by by Kansas State's Laurie Koehn. Ellenberg  made an OU single-season record 115 3-pointers last season.

Season opener
Nov. 8 vs. Stetson

Top nonconference games
Nov. 24 at UCLA
Dec. 1 vs. Creighton
Dec. 8 vs. Duke

Conference opener
Jan. 2 at Texas Tech

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