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January 2, 2013

Sooners’ McFarland responding to greater expectation

(Continued)

NORMAN —

In the past, McFarland has been prone to overthinking her role and next move. But in her team’s time of need, she has played untethered basketball.

“She’s one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever met. In anything, she wants to win,” Sooner coach Sherri Coale said. “If she makes a 99 on a test, she’s irritated because she should have made 100. And this situation is just kind of built for her. She understands what she has to do and how many people are counting on her.”

Even fans are noticing.

In OU’s last game, a 79-57 victory over Cal-State Northridge, McFarland was limited by foul trouble, but still scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Also, she ended a 2-of-16 streak from beyond the arc by hitting 2 of 3 3-pointers, a skill in which she’s proven adept in the past. Yet it was the opening moments, when she controlled the offensive glass, that left the biggest impression.

“A fan came up to me,” McFarland said, “and said ‘Thank you for playing so hard.’”

It’s not lost on her teammates, either.

“She set the tone,” Hand said, “and everybody followed that.”

Keeping it going, or bringing yet more, won’t be easy against stiff conference competition. Whatever, McFarland knows her assignment.

“It’s my last chance and we don’t have very many players,” she said. “It’s all or nothing right now.”

Clay HorningFollow me @clayhorningcfhorning@normantranscript.com

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