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Big 12 notebook: Jim Littell’s thoughts on canceled opener

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Jim Littell calls for a foul during Oklahoma State's basketball game vs. No. 1 Baylor on Jan. 30, 2019, in Stillwater, Oklahoma at Gallagher-Iba Arena. (DEVIN LAWRENCE WILBER/O'Colly)

As the season comes close, the Big 12 women’s basketball coaches jumped on a teleconference on Wednesday morning.

Jim Littell’s thoughts on canceled opener

A few positive COVID-19 tests among Oklahoma State’s women’s basketball team earlier this week forced the team to cancel its opening game at Little Rock. The Cowgirls will now open their season with five home games before traveling to Norman on Dec. 15.

“I believe we would have liked to start on the road,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “Especially with some young players, to have them understand that before we go to a road game at Oklahoma, so I was disappointed we weren’t able to play at UALR. (UALR is a) good team, well-coached and having that experience of going on the road one time. I think that is a big plus, so I wish we could have gone on the road and played.”

Future WNBA players in the conference

The Big 12 conference had nine players selected to the 2021 Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List. There are plenty of talented players spread out throughout the conference, and some of those players will be making the jump to the WNBA.

TCU coach Reagen Phebley thew out some Big 12 players who might one day reach the highest level of women’s basketball

“Gosh, I think, obviously, DiDi (Richards) has great ability, I think Charli (Collier) has great opportunities,” Phebley said. “I think a sleeper, as I talk to some WNBA coaches I know, is Vivian Gray who is, I think, an elite competitor. I think Natasha Mack has the athleticism to play at that level. Those are some quick (players) off the top of my head.

Quality of coaches in the Big 12

The feeling around the Big 12 conference is the coaching in the conference is as good or better than in any other conference. A new addition to the Big 12 coaching community is Krista Gerlich of Texas Tech.

“I think (the Big 12) has got the best coaches in the nation,” Gerlich said. “For years I’ve coached against them, I’ve learned from them and I’m excited to be a part of them. I have so much respect for them and a lot of them are my friends as well. It’s exciting to be a part of this elite group and I think it also gives some added pressure on myself to be able to compete at that level with such great coaches in our league.

NCAA women's basketball tournament

The recent announcement of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament being played at one host site had many wondering what the NCAA women’s basketball tournament might look like. Oklahoma Sooners coach Sherri Coale hadn’t heard anything about if the women’s tournament would also be played at a host site, but she made some conclusions.

“No one has asked me anything about the bubble that the men will be playing in. I can’t imagine that the women’s game would not do the same thing,” Coale said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com