Oklahoma women's basketball: Sooners need Joanna McFarland on the court

McFarland needs to stay out of foul trouble, avoid injury for the Sooners to remain competitive.
by Jason Kersey Published: February 5, 2013

Oklahoma jumped to an early 11-point lead Sunday at West Virginia and appeared well on its way to securing an important Big 12 Conference win.

But after senior forward Joanna McFarland collected her second personal foul midway through the first half, the Mountaineers went into halftime on a 23-9 run, eventually beating the Sooners, 83-62.

Despite only playing 27 minutes because of foul trouble, McFarland recorded her fifth double-double in conference play, totaling 14 points and 16 rebounds.

No. 23 Oklahoma (16-5 overall, 6-3 Big 12) has struggled all season when McFarland is forced to the bench because of foul trouble, highlighting just how valuable the 6-foot-3 senior is to this team, but also shining a light on the inexperienced Sooner bench's need for continued improvement.

The Sooners return to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. inside Kansas State's Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats (12-9, 3-6 Big 12) bring a two-game losing streak into the contest.

West Virginia's bench outscored OU's by a staggering 40-5 margin, although that number is a bit skewed by Oklahoma's injury problems, which have left it with only three reserves.

Sooners coach Sherri Coale spoke with The Oklahoman about McFarland's value, her foul troubles, junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg's health and the Sooners bench's need for improvement.

Aaryn Ellenberg had to leave Sunday's game without another ankle injury. Is her health a major concern for this team moving forward?

“She is doing better. She practiced two days this week, and she didn't practice any last week. Ironically, she's got two of them that are banged up now. But I think the original one, the right one, is much improved. The left one wasn't as bad.”

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