NORMAN — Maddie Manning walked with crutches to her seat Thursday evening, when Oklahoma easily rolled past Northwestern State (La.), 96-35.
Instead of making her fourth career start, the freshman guard sat on the Sooners' bench, watching her teammates celebrate a victory on the same Lloyd Noble Center floor where her season came to a premature end just one day earlier.
Whitney Hand can sympathize; the OU senior missed most of the 2009-10 season with the same injury — a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“She did a lot better than me,” Hand said. “I couldn't see the game because I was crying through the whole thing.
“I remember that first game; you're just miserable. All of our hearts just break for her.”
Coach Sherri Coale was lauded for her coaching performance last season, when she led OU to the NCAA Tournament's second round despite injuries continually biting her squads.
Seven games into this season, Coale's active roster is down to nine players.
Two players transferred in March; one veteran, Lyndsey Cloman, chose to end her career because of a lingering back injury in early November; and sophomore Kaylon Williams, who averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds a year ago, ruptured her Achilles tendon and will miss this entire season.