Instead, she became a mad filler-upper of the boxscore.
Just this season, Hand led OU in rebounding against Creighton, UCLA, St. Louis, Arkansas and Marist, scored in double figures in 6 of 8 games before getting hurt and dished out at least four assists in 4 of 8 games before getting hurt.
And, as nice and real and forthcoming as she has always been, it’s not like she’s been afraid to shake things up, too. Before playing Pat Summitt and Tennessee at the Ford Center in 2009, her freshman season, this was Hand’s take:
“We want to kill Tennessee … And we want to beat them not just by two,” she said, “but by 30.”
Hand hit 8 of 9 shots, scored a game-high 20 points and the Sooners beat the Lady Vols 80-70.
The night the Sooners lost her, not in spirit but on the court, OU prevailed 71-68 over North Texas.
Hand had scored only three points, but she’d already grabbed five rebounds and dished two assists, well on her way to filling another boxscore.
So great the loss, Coale was blown away by her team’s simple ability to put one foot in front of the other after Hand fell screaming with 1:58 remaining in the first half.
“I have no words,” Coale said.
At least the Sooners are left with an example. And one more voice in their ears, one they best respond to, or really hear about it back in the locker room, or maybe in the middle of practice.
Hand’s going to have a hard time filling up the boxscore now, on crutches or in a brace, in real clothes and not a uniform, looking on from the Sooner bench. Still, OU will be better if only for having her around.
Whitney Hand’s always found a way to make her team better. One way or another, don’t think that’s about to stop.
Clay HorningFollow me @email@example.com