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Injury statuses of Williams, Llanusa critical to health of Sooners NCAA Tournament chances

Injury statuses of Williams, Llanusa critical to health of Sooners NCAA Tournament chances

In Madi Williams, Ana Llanusa and Taylor Robertson, Oklahoma have one of the most potent and seasoned offensive trios within just the 68-staff subject of the 2023 NCAA Match that commences later on this week.

Previous thirty day period, Texas mentor Vic Schaefer evoked a pair of New York Yankees legends to clarify their collective firepower. “It’s like participating in Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle,” he explained of Williams and Robertson before heaping praise on Llanusa’s activity. Extra not long ago, immediately after bouncing the Sooners from the Big 12 Match Saturday, Iowa State’s Invoice Fennelly expressed gratitude that his Cyclones (probably) would not have to guard the OU trio at any time once more.

This week, Sooners coach Jennie Baranczyk described the luxurious of stepping into a tournament location with a a few-pronged assault of Williams, Robertson and Llanusa this way:

“It’s usually awesome to have extra — then you do not have as a lot of a burden,” OU’s 2nd-year coach claimed. “I believe what amazes me with all those 3 specifically is they are keen to share the basketball, as perfectly. It is not just about their scoring. It is about their generation offensively.”

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How proficiently Williams, Robertson and Llanusa can electric power the nation’s second-highest scoring offense will engage in a substantial part in dictating the length of the fifth-seeded Sooners’ most recent NCAA Event journey, which commences Saturday towards No. 12-seed Portland at 8 p.m. inside UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.

That’s why the well being of that trio stays crucial for OU with postseason enjoy marches along. As the Sooners head west, concerns about damage linger for Williams and Llanusa.

Williams, who enters the tournament at 145 occupation game titles played, remains hampered by the still left leg harm she experienced in OU’s normal time finale on March 4.

The fifth-12 months guard did not follow in the direct up to the Massive 12 Tournament but started out every of the Sooners two video games, seemingly gaining comfort and ease as she went along. Immediately after contributing six factors and four assists in 24 minutes towards TCU very last Friday, Williams erupted to tally 19 details, 5 helps, three rebounds and a pair of blocks in Saturday’s semifinal defeat to Iowa Condition.

Baranczyk famous Williams’ progress from Sport 1 to Recreation 2 but said the star guard’s position is “probably similar to exactly where she was,” at the Massive 12 Event as the Sooners get ready for the 23-8 Portland Pilots.

“She’s gonna give it whatsoever she has,” Baranczyk stated. “Is she 100{e538325c9cf657983df5f7d849dafd1e35f75768f2b9bd53b354eb0ae408bb3c}? I don’t know if she essentially could be. But her intellect is, so possibly.”

Baranczyk also acknowledged that Llanusa was “hindered” in Saturday’s 10-issue defeat to the Cyclones by the ankle harm she experienced during warmups. Llanusa was helped to the locker space by education personnel prior to tip off right before returning to perform 26 minutes.

Llanusa did not apply Monday.

“She’s hoping to rest,” Baranczyk stated. “She’s seeking to hold it lively. She’s doing anything that she’s intended to do.”

“Will she be 100{e538325c9cf657983df5f7d849dafd1e35f75768f2b9bd53b354eb0ae408bb3c}? I don’t know,” she ongoing. “But yet again, it is the exact same as Madi. She’s mentally going to be there. And which is what we require.”

Williams and Llanusa each and every proved their means to enjoy by way of damage at the meeting event. With that duo on the courtroom once again Saturday, the Sooners will enter the NCAA Tournament with 38.7 factors for every activity amongst 3 starters in Williams, Llanusa and Robertson.

Within the efficiency — and health — of that OU trio probable lies the keys to the Sooners aspirations as they enter a 2nd NCAA Match in as lots of decades beneath Baranczyk’s leadership.

“I experience like they can seriously participate in off every single other definitely properly and that is when it receives truly really hard to defend,” Baranczyk reported. “Because they can browse for each individual other. They can monitor for every single other. But they are eager to make that go. They’re keen to be capable to place the ball in the gap. They’re prepared to defend for every other.

“So I love how different they are. Simply because you can have a few but they are the very same. I imagine the versatility that the 3 of them convey would make it even extra distinctive.”

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March 7, 2023 movie. The Sooners will be enjoying in the Major 12 event in Kansas Metropolis this 7 days. Movie courtesy/OU Athletics

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