NORMAN — After the final buzzer Saturday night, four Oklahoma players will be honored before walking off the Lloyd Noble Center court for the last time.
One of them — the senior OU coach Sherri Coale calls the “most competitive kid I've ever been around — wasn't eager Friday to talk about Senior Night just yet.
Asked about it, forward Joanna McFarland's response immediately shifted to Kansas, which routed the Sooners two weeks ago and visits Norman for a 7 p.m. tipoff Saturday.
“Hopefully, it's a blowout in our favor,” McFarland said. “I don't know what to expect. I think it'll be a little bittersweet, obviously, with it being the last game.
“I just hope that we can take care of business before Senior Night starts.”
Both McFarland and guard Jasmine Hartman — usually a reserve — will start Saturday; OU's other two Senior Night honorees, Whitney Hand and Lyndsey Cloman, will watch from the bench, where injuries have forced them to stay virtually the entire season.
As Oklahoma's roster suffered injury after devastating injury throughout the early part of this season, McFarland remained a constant force, leading the team in rebounds while enjoying the best season of her career.
“It's been fun to watch her reap the benefits of her hard work this year, especially when we so desperately needed that from her,” Coale said. “She's been that guy in the fox hole for this senior class. She's doing everything she can with every minute she has.”
McFarland's competitiveness came naturally. On drives from Kansas to watch their daughter play, Jay and Jennifer McFarland compete to see who can get the best gas mileage.
Each morning after they'd wake up, Joanna McFarland and her three older siblings were each given a math problem to solve. The first one to correctly solve their problem got the first pancake or waffle at breakfast.
“It was always about, ‘Who can get up first? Who can solve it first?'” Joanna McFarland remembered.
“Later, it became, ‘First one to get up and give him a hug and a kiss.' So we would jump on him, pushing people off to get the first pancake, or the first waffle. That was our tradition.”
The 6-foot-3 forward brought that competitive spirit to Norman. Coale said no matter the game — Monopoly, word games, etc. — McFarland's attitude is “crazy, enthusiastic, cutthroat, ‘I want to win.'”
Hand said McFarland's competitiveness even applies to stretching.
“She wants to win, no matter what,” Hand said. “Literally, we're stretching, she wants to be the first one done stretching. It's just her personality.”
Oklahoma enters Saturday's game having lost four of its last five contests, including an ugly 81-71 loss at Kansas on Feb. 17. The Sooners have been routed in back-to-back games, first at Oklahoma State, then at home to No. 1 Baylor.
Following Saturday's game, Oklahoma travels Monday to Texas Tech for its regular-season finale. The Sooners get a few days off after that before the Big 12 Tournament in Dallas.
First, though, Oklahoma's battle-tested seniors have one more home game.
“I don't think my mind has actually realized that this is my last game on this court,” McFarland said. “I definitely, definitely, want to win this game.”