Big 12 Basketball

Ana Llanusa, Madi Williams Talk About Going Up Against Texas For Potential Big 12 Title

Madi Williams of Oklahoma women's basketball - 2

The 11th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners and 19th-ranked Texas Longhorns are set to duel it out this weekend in a game that could decide the Big 12 regular season title. Both teams are tied atop the standings with 12-3 records, two games ahead of the next suitor.

With that in mind, Sooners guards Ana Llanusa and Madi Williams stopped by with Heartland College Sports to preview the matchup. Take a look at all the discussion.



What it would mean to be part of a Big 12 Title team this year: “Yeah, I’d agree. It would mean a lot for the whole team, but all three of us especially. We’ve faced a lot of adversity together. And I just think it’d be awesome to finish with that. But like Madi said, we’ve been focusing on growing and each day being 1% better than we were the other day. So, I think if we focus on that, if it falls in our lap, that’d be great.”

What it will be like going through the end of the season this year: “For me, I’m just grateful to be here and be healthy. I’m really excited about what we’re going to be able to do and what we’ve already been doing. And I’m just grateful. And I think that I’m sad that I missed last year, but also just like the opportunity to get to come back and play with Madi and T. Rob [Taylor Robertson] again has been just the most fun experience ever.”

What it felt like as she was going through the different stages of her return: “Yeah, just trying to minimize thinking about those different stages has been helpful for me and just kind of being in the moment. We keep talking about being right where our feet are. I think that’s helped me the most. I usually get too ahead of myself or I think too far back. And so just really trying to stay steady and just be right where I am has been helpful.”

If she remembers a moment where she felt like it was clicking again health wise: “I think it came a little bit when we played Florida when we were in North Carolina. When we played Florida, I just felt like as a team, we were all on the same page with everything we did. It was the first game that I felt like we really all clicked together defensively and offensively. And I think from there on out that game kind of set the tone.”

How much she soaks everything in every time they take the court: “Yeah, just soaking in every moment. I’ve had a lot that I’ve got to experience being here. And so far right now it’s been the best that I’ve experienced over my years. And so [I’m] soaking up every moment of it and just letting go and playing free and making sure that we all as a team leave everything we have on the court every time we go out there.”

If the age thing came into play with the evolution of this season for her: “Um, yes and no. Madi’s not too far behind me, and neither is T. Rob. But no, having them be around the same age makes it better, too. But we have some great younger kids, yeah, younger teammates, and we’re just all like family. It’s just like a big family, and apparently I’m the grandma, according to Kayla. So, that’s been fun to take on that role.”

What the intensity of this game is normally like: “I would say the same as Madi. It’s just it’s an intense game and it’s a rivalry game. So, it’s really fun to get to go out there and experience it and just the atmosphere changes when you’re playing like those games like OSU or Texas. And so it’s gonna be fun. And like Madi said, we’ve got to find a way to go out there and play bigger, play stronger, when we’re practicing play more aggressive in practice so that we’re prepared when we go out there.”

What young Madi was like compared to Madi now: “I wouldn’t—I never really thought of Madi as younger. I feel like she always has played a role of being a leader regardless of how young she was. She came in and made her presence known as a freshman. And so I think she’s always been a leader, and I just think that she’s growing. She’s still growing. She’s gotten a lot—I don’t even know. I feel like she’s just Madi. I think obviously her game has grown a lot, but she was doing the things she was doing as a freshman. And so it’s just going to continue to elevate from here.”

If the rivalry adds any more juice considering they’re both vying for the Big 12 Championship: “Yeah, and those are always the most fun games for me personally. Just growing up in Oklahoma and knowing Texas and knowing like OSU, it’s so much [fun]. For me, I feel like it’s a lot more fun to play those teams.”



What it would mean to be part of a Big 12 Title team this year: “It would mean so much, especially to the seniors on the team. I mean, we put in a lot of work. And especially this year, we’ve been focused on one thing, and that’s getting better. And if that’s what comes with working hard, then shoot, bring it to us.”

If they start to think about leaving that legacy behind: “I think not to that extent but more of like building a culture of winning here and champions and people who want to come in and love the university and love playing basketball.”

How they can build off last year’s finish to the regular season last year: “I think last year we had a great season. It didn’t end how we wanted it to, but I think that was fuel of course to go into the offseason and work hard and work harder than we had before. And now that we’ve already been through it and we’ve put in the work and now just it’s time to kind of steady up and show the work that we’ve put in.”

What the intensity of this game is normally like: “I mean, like you don’t want to lose. I think that’s the first thought that comes into your head. And Texas has always been a powerhouse, so you also don’t want to get beat up. So, that’s also one thing that kind of fuels practice and preparation, is like, ‘Okay, I need to buck up a little bit and be able to take a few hits with my teammates.’ So yeah.”

If the rivalry adds any more juice considering they’re both vying for the Big 12 Championship: “I mean, I don’t think so. I think regardless if we were ranked or not, like just the history of the rivalry, like you could feel that. And that’s something that we take pride in, is being able to like make it a good game and come out with a dub.”

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