McFarland's effort and energy have never been in question. Teammates describe her as the ultimate competitor, regardless of the competition. Board games, academics, even team stretching — she always wants to be the first player finished — are cutthroat, life-or-death contests to McFarland.
Coach Sherri Coale said McFarland “hates to lose almost as much as she loves to win.”
“I think what (Hand's injury) did was put her in a position where she couldn't afford to worry about not being perfect,” Coale said. “That's in her DNA.
“When Whitney went down, she was like, ‘I don't have time to worry.'”
Perhaps nothing illustrates the change in McFarland better than the Sooners' second-round win Monday over UCLA.
McFarland scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the victory. On Nov. 14, when Oklahoma at home to UCLA, McFarland started, played 17 minutes, grabbed only three rebounds and didn't score a single point.
“I'm literally playing every game like it's my last, because it can be, it might be,” McFarland said. “There's no tired. There's no ‘I can't.'”
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2013 NCAA Oklahoma City Regional
When: Sunday (OU vs. Tennessee at 3:30 p.m.; Baylor vs. Louisville at 6 p.m.); Tuesday (8 p.m.)
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Tickets: All-sessions tickets — courtside levels ($48); end zones ($35); Individual session tickets — courtside levels ($32), end zones ($21.
Phone numbers: 1-800-745-3000; (405) 236-5000.