UPDATE: An MRI confirmed Whitney Hand's injury to her left knee was in fact a torn ACL. It's unknown at this time how long she is expected to be out.
The Oklahoma Sooners women's basketball team won its seventh straight game Thursday night, coming from behind to defeat North Texas 71-68. However, OU fans, coaches, and players were concerned with much more than the basketball game.
Late in the first half, OU senior guard Whitney Hand went down with an injury to her left knee. The replay showed Hand grabbing at her left knee immediately after a jump stop. Hand tore the ACL in her right knee early in her sophomore season, and returned halfway through the 2010-11 season after cartilage damage discovered during her rehab prolonged her recovery.
The game itself was a fairly ugly affair, with neither team shooting 40 percent from the field and combining for 34 turnovers, including 13 in the first half for the Sooners.
Leading 30-27 at the half, the Mean Green opened the second half on a 6-0 run to open its biggest lead of the game at 36-27. The Sooners battled back to take their first lead since the 3:20 mark of the first half when Nicole Kornet hit two free throws to put the Sooners in front, 46-45.
North Texas wouldn't go away. A jumper by Alexis Hyder and a three-pointer from Laura McCoy gave the Mean Green a 57-54 lead with 4:52 remaining in the contest.
From that point on, the game was more like a parade, as Sooner after Sooner made their way to the free-throw line. In fact, after a layup from Nicole Griffin cut the UNT lead to 57-55, the Sooners scored their final 16 points from the free-throw line over the final four minutes of the game.
After a Joanna McFarland free throw put the Sooners up 69-65, Loryn Goodwin hit a three-pointer to draw North Texas within one. UNT has a chance to tie or take the lead with 13 seconds left, but two shots missed and OU iced the game at the free throw line.
Griffin led the Sooners in scoring with 15 points while pulling down nine rebounds. McFarland had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Sharane Campbell added 11 points.
Hyder led the Mean Green with 15 points and also pulled down 12 rebounds. Goodwin added 14 points while Hannah Christian scored 13 points.
The Sooners will take a break for finals next week before facing Vanderbilt in Norman on December 16.