Oklahoma's Aaryn Ellenberg was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 Women's Basketball First Team and Portia Durrett was voted the league's Co-Newcomer of the Year, the conference announced Thursday.
Ellenberg, voted to the first team for the second straight year, was the Big 12's third-leading scorer with 19.0 points per game. The junior guard made an Oklahoma single-season record 98 3-pointers in 2012-13 and led the conference in 3-pointers made per game (3.3) and 3-point percentage (.428).
Joanna McFarland, who led the league in rebounding and totaled 10 double-doubles in conference play, was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team. Honorable mentions went to juniors Nicole Griffin and Morgan Hook.
McFarland averaged 9.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in her senior season. Hook averaged 10.6 points and 5.2 assists. Griffin counted 11.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Durrett shared the newcomer honor with Texas Tech's Jackie Patterson. It was the first tie in the history of the award. A transfer from Walters State College, Durrett averaged 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10 minutes per game.
Baylor's Brittney Griner and Kim Mulkey were selected, respectively, the player and coach of the year.
When noise levels reach 80 decibels, it's akin to running your kitchen blender non-stop or being parked at a railroad crossing when a freight train passes by. It's also music to Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale's ears.
The Sooners' head coach runs what many visiting college basketball analysts refer to as the loudest practice in America. Every player, whether on the court or the sideline, is communicating positions and actions at all times. It's all by design as Coale teaches multiple lessons to her team.
"It's a hard habit to instill," Coale admitted, "but basketball cannot be played -- not at its highest level -- if it's not like a good conversation. You have to be conveying information. That's a two-way skill. That's listening and speaking.
"What we want to do in practice is we want to make a situation that is chaotic because the game is chaotic. So when they get out there and play, it seems easy, it feels easy. But you're also teaching them to fight through all kinds of obstacles and hone in on one another and their communication with one another."
So how close are the Sooners' practices to the real thing? At the most recent game at Gallagher-Iba Arena, a facility known for its amplifying acoustics, loudness peaked at 103 decibels and averaged in the low 80s. At Wednesday's practice at the Lloyd Noble Center, noise peaked at 96 decibels and rarely fell below 75 during drills.
Bringing It Home
OU won't travel too far to begin the postseason as the Big 12 Tournament is hosted in Dallas for the first time since the Sooners won the title in 2006. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is home to two Sooners, Whitney Hand and Nicole Kornet. One of whom will be experiencing her first collegiate postseason, the other her last.
"It couldn't happen in a more fun place," Hand said. "I grew up at the American Airlines Center. It's exciting. I'm excited for the cool opportunities just to see my family and experience it with a lot of people who have been there supporting me throughout the whole thing. It's going to be a really, really fun weekend."
Likewise for the freshman Kornet, who graduated from the same Liberty Christian high school as Hand.
"I'm treating it like it's a home game," Kornet said. "I know there's a ton of OU fans down there."
Big 12 Championship
Oklahoma faces West Virginia in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Championship Saturday, March 9, at 8:30 p.m.
Oklahoma and West Virginia split the regular-season series with each team winning at home. The Sooners opened conference play Jan. 2 with a 71-68 victory in Norman. The Mountaineers defeated the Sooners 82-63 in Morgantown, W.Va., on Feb. 3.
What do the Sooners need to do to ensure a victory in the third meeting of the season?
"Survive their pressure -- that's it in a nutshell," Coale said. "They're a very good team. You have to defend them. They're very athletic; you have to keep them from getting to the rim. But the way that they beat you is they force you to turn the basketball over and they get easy baskets."
Oklahoma will be the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Championship, playing WVU in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Central:
Head Coach Sherri Coale "There were lot of heroes in the last four minutes (versus Texas Tech.) Tech made big plays and we had to score. And every time we had to score, we scored."
Junior G Morgan Hook "We have to be strong with the ball and get it to our post players. The first time we played them we got it to our post any time we wanted to. It's just the guards being able to bring it up the floor easily and then feeding the post when we need to."
Senior F Joanna McFarland "It's a big deal. This is the fun part of the season. You go through the grind of the Big 12 and it's fight and fight and fight. When you get to postseason, this is when you enjoy it. You have to enjoy every game because you never know which one is going to be your last. If you have one bad game, that's the end. You don't want to go out on a feeling like that." TEAM NOTES
With the OU men's hoops win Wednesday versus West Virginia, the Sooner basketball programs each reached 20 wins in the same season for the 12th time in history.
Oklahoma is 22-13 all-time in the Big 12 Championship and is tied with Baylor with a league-leading four tournament titles in its history. The Sooners are 8-4 in the quarterfinal round and have advanced past the round each of the last four years.
OU has won the Big 12 title two of the three times the conference tournament was hosted in Dallas. The Sooners won four straight games to capture the 2004 crown and backed it up in their return in 2006.
Junior G Aaryn Ellenberg
Ellenberg, who continues to extend her single-season school record of 98 3-pointers, is two makes shy of passing Erin Higgins (268, 2003-07) for OU's career record for 3-pointers made.
Junior C Nicole Griffin Griffin completed the regular season getting her first double-double against Texas Tech. The 6-6 center also set a career high for assists (four) and season high for blocks (6).
So. G Sharane Campbell Campbell completed Big 12 play with a team-high 41.5 3-point field goal percentage (24 of 60 attempts). It was a stark contrast to her non-conference campaign when she connected on just two of 18 (11.1 percent) from beyond the arc. SOCIAL MEDIA
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2013 Big 12 Championship Central Big 12 Championship Tickets
BIG 12 DIGITAL COVERAGE
Friday's first rounds of the Big 12 Championship will be webcast live via the Big 12 Digital Network at Big12Sports.com. Additionally, Oklahoma's Whitney Hand and Big 12 correspondent Wendell Barnhouse will co-host a postgame wrap of each game leading in to webcasts of postgame news conferences:
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