Oklahoma suffered its fifth and final season ending injury Sunday inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Concussion-like symptoms kept junior point guard Morgan Hook off the floor the final 31 minutes of the Sooners’ 74-59 regional semifinal loss to Tennessee, which ended OU’s improbable run through the NCAA Tournament.
“That was one of those where you’re like, ‘Really? Seriously? After everything, now we’re going to drop another one right here in the Sweet 16?’” said OU coach Sherri Coale.
The Sooners, who finish the season at 24-11, never led Sunday and struggled to establish much rhythm at all offensively.
“We’ve had a lot of downs, but we respond really well when things don’t necessarily go our way,” said junior guard Aaryn Ellenberg,OU’s leading scorer who struggled from the field Sunday with 13 points on 5 of 21 shooting.
“People get injured and we tried to muster up as much as we could, but it just didn’t happen."
No. 2-seeded Tennessee jumped out to a 9-3 lead early, but the Sooners battled back with a 6-0 run to tie it. After that, though, the Volunteers (27-7) went on a 17-4 run that included Hook’s injury.
“Morgan is our point guard, she plays ... almost 40 minutes a game,” said senior forward Joanna McFarland, who finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds in the final game of her career.
“She’s kind of the floor leader, gets us in the offense and everything. We kind of missed that.”
In Hook’s absence, senior reserve Jasmine Hartman played 36 minutes, finishing with two points and eight rebounds.
Senior guard Kamiko Williams led the Volunteers with 15 points.
One bright spot for Oklahoma — especially moving forward — was sophomore guard Sharane Campbell’s performance. The former Star Spencer High standout scored a game-high 22 points.
“My first Sweet 16 and I got to come home,” Campbell said. “It was just an amazing feeling. I want to do it again. I am going to do it again. We’re going to do it again.”
Two of Oklahoma’s four seniors — guard Whitney Hand and forward Lyndsey Cloman — missed most or all of the season with injuries.Campbell spoke at length after the game about the specific things she learned from each departing teammate.
“After the game, I realized these seniors taught me something,” Campbell said.
“Whitney Hand taught me how to be a leader on the court. Lyndsey taught me how to play with emotion. (McFarland) taught me how to be tough, crash, rebound, want the ball. (Hartman) taught me how to love defense.
“I’m going to be a junior, but I’m going to show all my teammates that we can do this. I’m going to take this role as being one of the leaders and try to bring us back here, bring us further. I think next year is going to be great. I can’t wait.”