Sooners miss Hand in loss to Aggies
February, 23, 2009
By Graham Hays
Whitney Hand isn't going to single-handedly win a national championship for Oklahoma. But if what transpired in the Sooners' loss Monday at Texas A&M is to be believed, one single broken digit on her non-shooting hand and a two- to four-week absence from the lineup could play a significant role in whether the Sooners get a chance to play in St. Louis.
There were plenty of components that went into the Aggies' 57-56 victory, a win that ended OU's undefeated conference run and 20-game winning streak and marked the first win against a top-three team for Gary Blair's program. Not the least of those components were a game-winning shot from Takia Starks in the closing seconds and spotty defending that allowed her to get so deep into the lane to begin with. And the Aggies deserve credit for playing defense as they and only a handful of teams can, disrupting rhythm and making it a struggle for the Sooners to even set up shop in the final quarter of the court for stretches of the second half.
Few teams would ever want to use the tape from playing Texas A&M as an advertisement for their offensive philosophy. But with an eye toward the NCAA tournament, neither Oklahoma's inability to handle the ball nor its corresponding inability to turn a plus-22 rebounding advantage into a decisive edge on the scoreboard seem completely unrelated to Hand's watching in street clothes from the bench.
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