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NORMAN, Okla. -- With the return of seven players, including its starting five, and led by veterans of two Final Fours, the University of Oklahoma women's basketball team expected improvement on its 2011-12 season that ended in the NCAA second round.
Yet, when it came to talk about their performance at their first public scrimmage, the Sooners were their own harshest critics.
Team co-captain and fifth-year senior Whitney Hand declared it in five words: "I thought we were terrible."
Oklahoma played evenly in intrasquad for two four-minute intervals alternated with two eight-minute periods against its male practice players. However, the Sooners fell behind in two final eight-minute periods against the scout team and were the first to admit their lack of energy.
"It's not how we've practiced for the past 10 days," junior point guard Morgan Hook, who had six points and six assists, said. "There's not much you can really say than it was in our control and we just didn't come out with any energy.
"It's the first time our fans got to see us. That was our first impression and that's not how we've performed. It was just embarrassing for us because that's not how we've performed the past 10 days. For us, that's not what we want our fans to see."
Still, while it may not have been dazzling, it was mostly clean and effective. The OU women combined to make only 37 of 90 field goal attempts, but hit 41 percent from beyond the arc and had 31 assists to 14 turnovers throughout the 40 minutes on the court.
"We didn't shoot it very well and we get a lot of our life from that," head coach Sherri Coale said. "Some of that's probably from not being the big gym very often yet this season. That will come; I'm not worried about that. I'm just disappointed in our energy level."
Sharane Campbell led with 19 points, hitting seven of nine field goals while showing off expanded range with a 5-for-7 3-point performance.
Junior center Nicole Griffin and freshman guard Nicole Kornet each had 16 points as the Sooners capitalized on both post feeds and penetrate-and-pitch offense.
Kornet hit four of eight 3-pointers and exhibited a fearlessness not often found in Division I newcomers.
"She's the kind of kid that when the game is on the line, she wants to ball," Coale said. "No one told her she's just a freshman. No one told her she should think twice about that. And she shouldn't."
Hand was the most efficient with seven points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and zero turnovers.
Junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg was the last OU scorer in double digits with 12 points.
Senior point guard Jasmine Hartman, who sat out OU's preseason games in Australia, rebounded well from injury in her first public competition since tearing an ACL in last year's preseason. Hartman battled four five boards and dished four assists while committing just one turnover.
Despite the team's perceived lack of energy at the event, promoted as the Friday Night Tailgate before OU football's monster showdown against No. 5 Notre Dame, was entertaining for those in attendance at the Lloyd Noble Center and watching online via live webcast.
OU football head coach Bob Stoops welcomed the crowd and took on Hand in a free-throw shooting contest; Coale wore a microphone and provided commentary over the PA, often explaining her team's plays while they were running them in live action -- she even had the opportunity to poke fun at the officials and heckle her scout team on occasions to the delight of the crowd; and, for a halftime performance, Coale familiarized those watching with her players strange and unique talents.