On the court, it came together over a couple of weeks, when November became December.
Averaging two points and four rebounds over the season’s first three games, McFarland lost her starting spot. Over the next six games, all off the bench, she averaged 6.8 points and 9.2 rebounds.
In the sixth game, Hand was injured against North Texas. That put McFarland back in the starting lineup where she has averaged 10.4 points and 11.2 rebounds since, a near season-long, double-double.
So lost in the game, reacting rather than thinking, those watching can get lost watching her, her effort demanding their attention.
McFarland’s 11.3 rebounds-per-game average against conference opponents leads the Big 12. Her nine double-doubles against conference opponents leads the Big 12.
On the same team as Aaryn Ellenberg, whose 18.6-point averages ranks third in the conference, McFarland may have a hard time achieving first-team All-Big 12 status.
Not that she hasn’t earned it.
Still, when McFarland’s journey is considered, it’s not what those close to her think about. What sticks with them is the process.
The one that allowed her to take off when somebody had to. The one that allowed her to overcome doubt and fear and caution and, as her coach says, grow “comfortable in her own skin.”
“Whatever you do in four years of college,” OU coach Sherri Coale said, “if you can come out the other end of it and say that, then you’ve done something.”
Given McFarland’s senior year success, there is the temptation to question that which came before, her first three years in the program when she averaged less than five points and six rebounds, before she was able to, in her words, “get our of my own way.”
The best answer is that it’s hard to get out of your own way.