Sooners Sweet 16 Bound after Win over Miami

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:17 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 22, 2011 8:48 PM CDT

Stephany Speck
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

CHAROLETTESVILLE, Virginia -- The Oklahoma Sooners upset the Miami Hurricanes 88-83 to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the third-straight year.

Led by the hot hands of Whitney Hand, who finished with 27 points, Oklahoma held off the persistent Miami team who managed to overcome early struggles to challenge the Sooners in the second half.

The Hurricanes held their only lead of the game early - stretching the first five minutes of play - but a layup by Hand gave the Sooners a one-point lead, which OU refused to relinquish the remainder of the game.

Leading by as many as 15 points in the first half, the Sooners dominated with high-speed play and by nailing their three-point shots. OU hit five 3’s by halftime and had seven points off fast breaks, compared to Miami’s four. The Hurricanes also struggled on the charity line in the first half, hitting only three of their six free throws, while the Sooners sank all seven.

The Sooners started the second half of play up 44-35, but the Hurricanes battled their way back to within two points with 13:21 to play when Sylvia Bullock hit a layup. Oklahoma managed to stay just out of reach of Miami until the three-minute mark, when the Hurricanes’ Shenise Johnson hit a jump shot to tie the game at 79.

The Sooners answered back when Danielle Robinson went on a five-point unanswered run to once again pull ahead with less than a minute to play.

Miami tried to put a shot up and missed, but Joanna McFarland drew the foul on a rebound. She sank one of her two free throws to bring the score to 88-81 with 28 seconds left. The rebound tied McFarland’s career high of 15, which she set in the Sooners’ 86-72 win over James Madison on Sunday.

The Hurricane narrowed the margin to five after Johnson hit a layup and the team forced a turnover by freshman Aaryn Ellenburg to regain possession. Johnson threw up a 3 with 13 seconds left in the game, but the shot fell short, leaving OU’s Robinson to waste the clock away for the win.

Three Sooners finished with double-doubles, including McFarland, who ended with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Robinson finished the game with 18 points, 11 assists and six rebounds, while teammate Carlee Roethlisberger ended with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Ellenberg, who left the game with an injury off the late turnover, finished with 13 points, one assist and one block.

Miami was led by Johnson, who finished with 25 points, while teammate Morgan Stroman ended with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Riquna Williams had 17 points and seven rebounds, while Stefani Yderstrom contributed 14 points and two steals.

The Sooners advance to the Sweet 16 for the third-consecutive year, where they’ll face Notre Dame on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio.