NORMAN — Oklahoma volleyball junior Eden Williams was among the thousands of horrified basketball fans in the Lloyd Noble Center stands Dec. 6, watching popular senior Whitney Hand writhe in pain from her career-ending ACL tear.
“I teared up,” Williams said. “It was just an awful sight; she's such an amazing person.”
Never once, though, did Williams or volleyball teammate Tara Dunn think they'd become part of the solution for the women's basketball team, which has suffered four season- or career-ending injuries since the preseason.
But that's exactly what happened; Williams and Dunn were added this week to coach Sherri Coale's roster, giving the Sooners 10 healthy bodies entering Saturday's home game against Cal State Northridge, Oklahoma's final opponent before Big 12 Conference play begins.
Neither Dunn nor Williams enter this new endeavor expecting to play much, if at all. For them, joining the basketball team is about having fun, experiencing something new and — most importantly — helping their friends and fellow OU student-athletes.
“My freshman year ... I was in the dorms with (Kaylon Williams) and Sharane (Campbell), so I knew them,” Dunn said. “The athletic community is really small here at Oklahoma, so you pretty much know all the athletes.
“We've been told from the beginning that we're most likely just going to be scout team, which I'm perfectly fine with ... I definitely don't expect anything.”
Dunn (6-foot-2) and Williams (5-foot-3) each played basketball from a young age through their senior years of high school, but decided early in their prep careers that volleyball was their future.