‘We as a community have to decide what we want’: Jennie Baranczyk calling for big Red River crowd

The Oklahoma Sooners have a big-time matchup coming Saturday at 1 p.m. CT against the Texas Longhorns in a game that could decide the big 12 regular season title. A championship the Sooners haven’t won since 2009.

Oklahoma and Texas are tied atop the Big 12 standings with three games remaining. With everything on the line, head coach Jennie Baranczyk is laid down the challenge to pack the Lloyd Noble Center.

“But here’s the thing is that we as a state, we as a community have to decide what we want for women’s basketball here,” Baranczyk said when meeting with the media. “And I mean, you’re talking about the matchup, you’re talking about a rivalry, you’re talking about the senior class, you’re talking about what they’ve been able to do.

“It’s Saturday afternoon, and I know there’s high school playoffs. I understand that. And trust me, we’re following all those. But if you look at the top teams in the country, and you look at the attendance for women’s basketball, you know, we should have no less than eight to 10,000 people here.”

Coach Baranczyk is right. The top teams in the country are putting people in the stands. The No. 1 team in the nation and defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks are averaging over 12,400 fans at their games. LSU, who is 25-1 on the season, had 15,000 fans in attendance for their win over Tennessee.

Oklahoma has the No. 2 scoring offense in the country with a deep and exciting group of players that can fill up the box score. Norman is home to college basketball’s all-time record holder for three-pointers made in a career, Taylor Robertson.

“They’re incredible,” Baranczyk said of her team. “They’re incredible people to come and watch, you know, they point to each other. They laugh, they work hard. You know, after the game, they’re going to sit there, and they’re going to give autographs to everybody. I mean, it takes a lot of time to be able to do that. And we want to be the best for this community that we possibly can.”

This team has been a lot of fun to watch this year. They play an open, uptempo style of basketball with players that can hit from the outside or drive the paint. And in less than two years’ time, Jennie Baranczyk has helped Oklahoma return to Big 12 title contention and has them on the verge of their second straight NCAA tournament appearance.

They’re a team worth the price of admission and a team worthy of having big crowds. Especially for a big game like the Sooners have on Saturday against the Texas Longhorns.

“But we need everybody,” Coach Baranczyk implored. “And we need a lot of people wearing in crimson this weekend. You can go white and okay, you just can’t wear orange or whatever color you want. And to be honest, that’s really the expectation. I feel like we’re really going to know what people think of women’s basketball in this state on Saturday afternoon at one o’clock.”


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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire