Joanna McFarland has figured it out.
It took a while.
It took three long seasons and maybe losing her starting job in the fourth. It took too many injuries suffered by her teammates.
It may have taken having no way out. Sort of. Because many never figure it out.
It’s a long story, but also a short one, because one day she was struggling and soon thereafter she was thriving. It’s as simple as flipping a switch, but as complicated as a life led up to the moment the switch was flipped.
“There’s been a lot of, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I going to do, what are people going to think?’,” McFarland said. “But when Whitney went down, it was like, ‘Well, crap, nobody else is left, so it might as well be me stepping up.’”
A little explanation:
The Oklahoma women play Kansas at 7 tonight. It is their last home game of the season and therefore senior night, meaning McFarland will be honored alongside Whitney Hand, Jasmine Hartman and Lyndsey Cloman for their time spent in the program.
Cloman tore her ACL last preseason and, though rehabbed, had to give up her senior season to a chronically bad back. Hartman has come back from ACL surgery to play but, as many do, has struggled to find her old form. Hand, long the on-court and emotional leader of the program, suffered her second torn ACL on Dec. 6 and has had to settle for inspirational leadership since.
McFarland has triumphed.
“Since I’ve been here, she’s probably the teammate that’s grown the most as a person, in every single way,” Hand said of the 6-3 power forward from Derby, Kan. “Socially, mentally, emotionally, physically … She’s matured into the woman she is and it’s really cool just to be able to walk alongside her and be a part of it.”