Big XII: It's Down To This: Iowa State vs. Oklahoma

By Jean Neuberger - March 10, 2007

We've had 10 exciting games here at the Big XII Women's Tournament, but it's all been leading up to this game. Power vs. Finesse. David vs. Goliath. The powerful hometown team vs. the little team that could. We are minutes away from co-Big XII Champion Oklahoma and the 5th-seeded Iowa State Cyclones.

For today's championship matchup, we'll play the edge game.

FORWARDS: Oklahoma's Leah Rush is a 3-point threat every time she touches the ball, and is a very emotional player, meaning that she's a huge benefit when they're up, but could be a slight liability when OU's trailing. Amanda Thompson might be the next in line after the Paris sisters to carry on OU's winning ways. Thompson is a big, tough, bruising power forward who loves to go inside and fight for the garbage points. Iowa State will rely on NIcky Wieben, who is a tall player with suprising toughness, and Toccara Ross, a gritty go-getter in the paint. Wieben's had a great tournament so far, but I wonder if she'll be tough enough to handle the size of Thompson.
EDGE: Oklahoma

CENTER: This is a mismatch for just about 99 percent of all the women's progams out there. OU has All-Everything Courtney Paris, who some consider to be not only the best player in the nation, but the future of the WBNA and USA basketball. There's just no one in the country that can match her size and strength, and when she's out, her twin sister Ashley fills in nicely. Who will take on the Paris challenge? I'm guessing a mix, as ISU runs a 3-guard set. Expect Wieben or guard/forward Megan Ronhovde to take on most of the Paris duties, and with Ronhovde nursing an ankle injury, this could be the difference.
HUGE EDGE: Oklahoma

GUARDS: OU sends out their newest superstar, Jenna Plumley, as well as Erin Higgins, a solid defender and good 3-point shooter, out to face the Cyclones today. However, this is one area ISU can counter. Alison Lacey is a strong 3-point shooter and plays aggressive defense to boot, while Megan Ronhovde has found her 3-point touch again, spelling possible trouble for OU. Heather Ezell has become better and better with each game, and then there's Lyndsey Medders, who's the heart of this ISU team and a terrific floor general. OU will have to stop Medders to win, but the Cyclones have a lot of weapons at this position.
EDGE: Iowa State

COACHING: Sherri Coale, who hands down is the most popular female in the state of Oklahoma, has played her cards right from the start. She knows what her team can and can't do, and when Baylor went hard after Courtney Paris, Coale was ready with a flurry of options. Bill Fennelly deserves a lot of credit too, though. No one expected ISU in the final (though I picked them as the darkhorse, and according to Fennelly, I was the ONLY one who did media-wise). When the game is close, senior leadership makes the difference, and Fennelly has let his seniors take control of this team, and they've won eight straight going into today.
EDGE: Even

FANS: It's a sellout today, and most of those fans are in OU crimson instead of ISU's brighter red. The Cyclones have an impressive contingent, but it'll still be a heavy road environment for them today.
EDGE: Oklahoma

MASCOT: OU's "Sooner" is a horse with a bright red mane and tail. Not the prettiest thing, and he mostly just jumps and claps. Meanwhile, ISU's "Cy" has stood on top of pyramids and has been all over the place. This one's easy.

BAND: I wish OU's band could play something besides their fight song and the theme to Oklahoma! the musical. Iowa State's band does more than two songs, and with one, they move their heads in a twisting motion, similar to a Cyclone...take my word on this, it's cool.
EDGE: Iowa State

POM SQUADS: I said it on the men's side...when you have members accepting interview requests and waving to you from the're going to win this edge.
EDGE: Oklahoma

So who will win? We'll find out, as the Big XII Women's Championship gets set to go.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 06:31 PM on March 10, 2007

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