COLUMBUS, Ohio —
Coach Hand: Whitney Hand hasn’t played since tearing the ACL in her left knee against North Texas Dec. 6, but she’s been another set of eyes from the bench while offering as much leadership as she can from a different perch. Saturday, after OU beat Central Michigan, she proved her sense of the truth and what needs to be said remains intact.
“We won because they didn’t shoot well,” Hand said. “If we give up 30 more shots than we take against UCLA, then we’re not going to win.”
The Chippewas shot 31 percent (26 of 84) from the floor. OU shot 47.2 percent (25 of 53) in its 78-73 victory.
That wasn’t Jo: Coale said nobody is better suited to play a physical team like UCLA than senior forward Joanna McFarland.
“If you want to play crazy stuff,” she said, “Jo’s your guy.”
The Sooners might take comfort in the knowledge McFarland had yet to find her game by Nov. 14, the day UCLA first beat OU 86-80.
McFarland played 17 minutes, grabbed six rebounds, did not score and committed four fouls. After the next game — a no-point, three-rebound performance against St. Louis — McFarland was dropped from the starting lineup. Since, she’s not only won her spot back, but has averaged a double-double: 10.3 points and 10.8 rebounds.
There’s precedent: If OU beats UCLA today it will earn its ninth trip into the Sweet 16, all of them coming since the 1999-2000.
Most of the time, OU has been favored to reach the second week of the NCAA tournament, but not every time.
OU’s first Sweet 16 required beating defending national champion Purdue on its home court, a shocker heard ‘round the women’s basketball world. Also, two years ago, as a No. 6 seed, OU wasn’t supposed to get through No. 3-seed Miami, yet beat the Hurricanes 88-83.