NORMAN — The Oklahoma women did not lose the game. And still, for Oklahoma women’s basketball, the program and its fans, it’s only a matter of being thankful for small favors.
Whitney Hand, the squad’s fifth-year on-court leader, spiritual leader and the most indispensable player on the team since Danielle Robinson left for the WNBA, left the floor with about two minutes remaining in the first half after her left knee buckled as she planted for a shot.
Hand hit the hardwood crying in pain. Already she had missed her true sophomore season with a torn ACL in her right knee, and almost half the following season when additional surgery was required.
Hand left the arena for an MRI on the knee as the game played on. If she is out for the season, OU would appear to be in a position of facing down the season the same way it faced down North Texas 71-68 Thursday night at Lloyd Noble Center. That is, with eight healthy bodies.
Already OU had lost posts Lyndsey Cloman (back) and Kaylon Williams (ruptured Achilles tendon) in the preseason. Freshman guard Maddie Manning, three games after entering the starting lineup, tore the ACL in her right knee in practice just this week.