By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Whitney Hand, healthy or not, has left the program and joined husband Landry Jones in Pittsburgh, and Joanna McFarland, after a monster senior season, has no more rebounds to give to the cause.
Also, though Big 12 preseason player of the year Odyssey Sims still plays for Baylor, Brittney Griner no longer does.
That may have something to do with why conference coaches have penciled the Oklahoma women in as the team to beat, placing them atop the preseason Big 12 poll.
With coaches not allowed to vote for their own team, the Sooners received 5 of 9 available first-place votes. Baylor received three and came in second in the poll. West Virginia received two first-place votes and, alongside Oklahoma State, shares the third spot in the poll.
The rest of the poll, spots five through 12, are occupied, in order, by Texas, Iowa State, Kansas, TCU, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
Despite the graduation losses, the Sooners return six players with starting experience in preseason All-Big 12 guard Aaryn Ellenberg, point guard Morgan Hook, center Nicole Griffin, forward Sharane Campbell, post Kaylon Williams and combo guard Maddie Manning.
Williams, though, missed all of last season with an Achilles’ tendon rupture, and Manning missed all but six games of last season with a torn ACL.
The Sooners play the season’s first exhibition game against Cameron Nov. 2 at Lloyd Noble Center. The regular season, in the form of the Preseason WNIT, tips off Nov. 8 against Stetson, also at Lloyd Noble Center.