Injured Oklahoma seniors Whitney Hand and Lyndsey Cloman wore game jerseys March 2, when the Sooners beat Kansas 85-77 on Senior Night.
Coach Sherri Coale liked the way it affected the team, so Hand and Cloman have continued dressing out through the Big 12 Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
Is there any way Hand might sneak back into a game?
“No, no, no,” Hand responded. “Senior Night, (Coale) let Lyndsey and I dress out in our uniforms because we wanted to wear uniforms for our last game.
“She liked the energy that it brought, and she felt like our bench looked better and we were all really into it. So she was like, ‘You guys all just need to wear your jerseys the rest of the year.'”
Hand, a four-time team captain, tore her ACL in the first half of the Sooners' Dec. 6 home win over North Texas. It was her second career ACL tear.
She recorded 1,211 points, 555 rebounds, 296 assists, 51 blocks and 120 steals over her 104-game career, and ranks third in program history in minutes played per game at 32.5.
HOME SWEET (16) HOME
By toppling UCLA earlier this week in Columbus, Ohio, Oklahoma earned the right to return to its home state.
The sixth-seeded Sooners meet No. 2-seed Tennessee in a Sweet 16 game Sunday at 3:30 p.m. inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“I think it's great because we're here at home,” said OU junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg. “There's a lot of people who are gonna want to be there, and are gonna be there. That gives us an extra boost of energy to really play well for them.”
HOOK: TENNESSEE, UCLA SIMILAR
Oklahoma junior guard Morgan Hook said the Sooners' next opponent reminds her a lot of their last foe.
“We haven't watched much film on them, but we know them really well,” Hook said of Tennessee. “They're really similar to UCLA. They're big, athletic, strong, physical.
“We'll have to be just as physical and be able to contain them just like we did to UCLA.”
That, Hook said, was the biggest difference between Monday's game and the season's first clash with the Bruins, which OU lost Nov. 14.
“They just out-physicaled us in that first game,” Hook said. “We'd try to cut to the basket and they'd check us and we'd be done. That was our number one goal, to be more physical on blockouts. Defensively, if they give us a little nudge, to stay in front of them.
“I think we did a really good job of that.”