Without Kaylon Williams, OU women's interior depth to be tested
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Friday, October 26, 2012
10/26/12 at 6:10 AM
DALLAS - Oklahoma's depth took a significant hit last week when forward Kaylon Williams was lost for the season with an injury.
"It affects our depth on the interior," coach Sherri Coale said Thursday at Big 12 media day. "She was one of our most improved players, so it's disappointing for her on a personal level and for all of us."
Williams, a sophomore, ruptured her left Achilles tendon Tuesday during the team's second practice of the year. She underwent surgery last week and is expected to have a six-month recovery.
"You noticed a difference from last year to this year," teammate Aaryn Ellenberg said. "She'd really caught on to everything.
"When you're a freshman, it's tough to really grasp everything. She really got it this year and was ready to show what she could do. It's tough, but I think she'll be better for it."
Williams, who is from Midwest City, started 16 games last year and averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.
"Everybody's going to have to be 1 or 2 percent better," Coale said. "We fortunately have Portia Durrett, a junior-college transfer, who can come in and take up some of those minutes on the block, and Jo (McFarland) can rotate down there and give us different looks for opponents. But there's no doubt we'll miss Kay Kay's presence."
Durrett is a 6-foot-1 forward who arrived in Norman via Walters State Community College in Tennessee. Last year, she led the Senators to a top-10 national ranking while becoming a junior-college All-American.
"We'd heard about her, but we hadn't seen her play," Ellenberg said. "We were kind of just looking to see what she'd be like, and she's awesome.
"She has some presence in the post but she can also step out and shoot 3s, so I think that really helps us a lot."
Asked about areas in which her team has improved, Coale said: "I think we'll have a stronger inside game. I think our interior guys have probably improved the most, and maybe it's because they have the furthest to go."
That's a fair assessment when comparing the interior players to the Sooners' standout guards, who don't have much room for improvement. Ellenberg, Whitney Hand and Morgan Hook were the team's top scorers last year, combining to average nearly 40 points a game.
"I'd put my guards against anybody in America," Coale said. "I really would. They're talented, they're earnest, and they're conscientious.
"I think our groups always have strong chemistry, and this group has an extraordinary vibe about them. They understand one another's strengths and weaknesses and how to play off of those."
Original Print Headline: OU depth inside will be tested early
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
OU's Kaylon Williams shoots at the Women's NCAA basketball tournament in Norman in March. Williams will not be returning for the season due to injury. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World file