NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale told her team before its weekend games in Honolulu that starting jobs would be earned in practice.
Freshman guard Maddie Manning earned a spot in the lineup and played well in the Sooners' three-game Rainbow Wahine Showdown sweep. She set her career high in scoring in each game, totaling 10, 11 and 12 points in wins over Arkansas, Oregon and Hawaii, respectively.
“She earned it,” Coale said. “We competed and said whoever does the best job in practice this week is gonna get the nod. She earned it and took advantage of it.”
Manning, from Ankeny, Iowa, hopes to start her fourth career game Thursday, when Oklahoma returns home to Lloyd Noble Center and hosts Northwestern (La.) State. At Wednesday's practice, though, Manning fell to the court with a knee injury.
She was able to walk herself off the court, but her status for Thursday's game is unknown.
Senior forward Joanna McFarland started Oklahoma's first three games, when Manning came in off the bench. If the freshman is unable to play Thursday, Coale is confident in her squad's toughness and resiliency, which she said was displayed in Hawaii.
“Guys understood that if they're not doing their job, there's somebody on the bench who can come in and do that job for them,” Coale said of what she learned about her team last weekend.
“That's not a negative thing; that's a very positive thing. It's what makes teams great, and what keeps them growing.”
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NO. 12 OKLAHOMA VS. NORTHWESTERN STATE
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Cox 68/HD 715)
Radio: KOKC-AM 1520, KREF-AM 1400
Live webcast: SoonerSports.tv
Three things to know
— Oklahoma is coming off a three-game sweep of the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu.
— Veteran reserve Jasmine Hartman, who missed all of last year with an ACL tear, saw increased action during the Hawaii trip. She led the team in assists in two of the three games there.
— Northwestern State, located in Natchitoches, La., and Oklahoma have never met before in women's basketball. The Lady Demons are co-coached by Brooke and Scott Stoehr.