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Oklahoma basketball: Loss of Whitney Hand leaves Sherri Coale with eight healthy players

The Sooners have a tough road going forward, but coach Sherri Coale says she was floored by her team's maturity after leader Whitney Hand went down Thursday night.
by Jason Kersey Published: December 7, 2012
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photo - UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL / OU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Only three substitutes are available in the second half as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the North Texas Mean Green in NCAA, women's college basketball at The Lloyd Noble Center on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012  in Norman, Okla.  Oklahoma's Jasmine Hartman (45), Nicole Kornet (1) and Portia Durrett (31) are the only healthy Sooners not on the floor.   Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL / OU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Only three substitutes are available in the second half as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the North Texas Mean Green in NCAA, women's college basketball at The Lloyd Noble Center on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma's Jasmine Hartman (45), Nicole Kornet (1) and Portia Durrett (31) are the only healthy Sooners not on the floor. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

— And then there were eight.

The Oklahoma women's basketball team sustained its biggest, most gut-wrenching blow yet in Thursday's 71-68 win over North Texas, when senior guard Whitney Hand tore the ACL in her left knee.

Sherri Coale's team now consists of eight healthy players.

“I don't know that I've ever been prouder of a team,” Coale said. “Seventeen years of doing this. ... I think revealed their mettle. Their character.”

The Sooners (8-1) earned a tough, gritty win Thursday, but the games are going to get substantially harder over the next month.

For now, though, Coale said she was floored by her team's maturity after their leader and friend suffered the second major knee injury of her college career.

“I have no words,” she said. “I don't even know how they could think, much less change defenses and run sets and change matchups.”

How did she manage to coach, given her close relationship with Hand?

“It was hard,” she said. “Hard to concentrate.”

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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