NORMAN — Some OU students offered their condolences to a women's basketball manager last week.
After senior Whitney Hand's career ending ACL tear, which left the Sooners with just eight healthy players, one student said it was too bad that “the season is over.”
The conversation was relayed to senior forward Joanna McFarland.
“I know in a lot of people's minds, it may be over,” McFarland said. “We did lose so many people to injuries, but this is my last year. I want to show everybody that this is not over.”
McFarland grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in Oklahoma's first game without Hand, Sunday's 76-63 loss to Vanderbilt.
After the game, McFarland said it would be disrespectful to her injured teammates if she didn't play as hard as possible in their honor.
Wednesday, she expanded on those thoughts with The Oklahoman, and talked about the importance of finishing the Sooners' nonconference slate strong.
You missed six games last year with a broken jaw; is that why you feel so strongly about playing hard for your injured teammates?
“I remember the first game after my injury last year; it was the Kansas State game, there. I couldn't go because I had surgery. Everybody on the team texted me and said, ‘This one's for you.'
“That meant a lot to me. I know what it's like; we have so many people that are injured on our team right now, and I just want to play to honor them.”
When you hear people say the season is over, does that make you mad or motivate you?
“It's a little bit of both, because I guess anger is motivation. It's a reason to fight, to prove people wrong.”
What challenges does UC-Riverside present?
“We just went to our first meeting, and we didn't know much about them, but they look like they play hard. They have a couple really good shooters. It's gonna be all about sticking to the game plan and making sure we're aware of where they are at all times.”
How important will it be to build some momentum in these last two nonconference games?
“We need to have some kind of spark going into the break, and then afterward going into conference play. When you're in Big 12, it's rough. Every team is good; every team is tough. You have two games a week. It's hard, and we need something that'll get us ready for it.”