By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Monday, coach Sherri Coale’s Oklahoma women’s basketball program’s fears were realized. Further, that should serve to make the Sooners’ exhibition schedule significantly more interesting.
As though, redshirt freshman guard Maddie Manning has lost her second consecutive season to injury after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, OU confirmed.
The Manning, from Ankeny, Iowa, played in six games her true freshman season, even moving into the starting lineup for the last three, before tearing the ACL in her right knee.
The injury occurred in an intrasquad scrimmage last Friday night at Lloyd Noble Center. Also during the scrimmage, senior point guard Morgan Hook dislocated her right thumb.
Hook is being fitted with a device to protect the thumb and wearing it will keep her out of each of the Sooners’ exhibition games, the first set to be played at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center against in-state NAIA program Cameron. OU’s second and last exhibition game arrives at 7 p.m., a week from today, when Central Oklahoma visits Lloyd Noble Center.
Following the exhibitions, Hook’s availability will be re-evaluated.
In real terms, it means OU will send out two true freshmen to run the point-guard position in its exhibitions and possibly into the regular season, which begins Nov. 8, against Stetson, also at home.
Coale intends to play both Gioya Carter (5-9, Midwest City, Carl Albert) and T’ona Edwards (5-5, Spencer, Northeast Academy) at the position.
Carter, who averaged 18.3 points and 7.4 rebounds her senior year of high school, was already under consideration to play major minutes her true freshman season even prior to Manning’s and Hook’s injuries, just not at the point guard position.
Edwards, the smaller of the two, who averaged 16.7 points, seven rebounds and six assists for a 30-0 Northeast team last season, may be a more traditional fit at the position, though her immediate readiness to play Division I and Big 12 Conference basketball right out of high school has been a bigger question than Carter’s.
Still, that’s the hand the Sooners have been dealt, having lost their starting point guard indefinitely and her back-up for the rest of the season.
This is the second straight unkind preseason to the Sooners, who last year lost post Kaylon Williams to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in the preseason, and then went on to lose Manning and Whitney Hand to season-ending ACL tears during the season. Ultimately, Coale had to raid the Sooner volleyball team just to have 10 players practicing every day.
That shouldn’t be necessary this season.
Even without Manning, the Sooner roster is a long one, counting 13 players, including five true freshmen.
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