The Oklahoma Sooners beat to the IUPUI Cougars, 78-72, on Saturday to help the Big 12 finish off a perfect 6-0 start to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Big 12 men wrapped up a 6-0 start in the first round on Friday night. By the end of that evening the Big 12 women were already 4-0.
With victories by Kansas State and Oklahoma on Saturday, the women matched the men’s start.
The Sooners (25-8) will face Notre Dame in the second round on Monday at the Lloyd Noble Center. For the Sooners, it was their first NCAA Tournament game at home since 2010, when they reached the Final Four.
Oklahoma led nearly the entire game, but the Sooners were never comfortably ahead. Their biggest lead was 14 points late in the third quarter. But the Jaguars (24-5) cut the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter and never allowed the Sooners to run away with the game.
The Sooners leaned on their vets to get the job done. Guard Taylor Robertson led the way with 22 points, draining four 3-pointers and going 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Forward Madi Williams had 21 points with six rebounds. Guard Nevaeh Tot had 10 points and eight rebounds, while Skylar Vann came off the bench to give the Sooners 13 points. Vann left the Big 12 semifinals with a knee injury.
It wasn’t Oklahoma’s best shooting night. But the Sooners’ defense held the Jaguars to 36 percent shooting. Rachel McLimore led the way with 18 points, while Macee Williams, the Horizon League Player of the Year, had 17 points and 13 rebounds. Anna Mortag added 14 points.
Meanwhile, the Big 12 women have proven just as tough as their counterparts when it comes to the NCAA Tournament’s first round.
On Friday, No. 2 seed Baylor started the day with an 89-49 win over Hawaii. That put the Bears in position to play South Dakota in the second round on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16.
Then, it was a furious evening. Kansas, playing the early game in Palo Alto, Calif., overcame a double-digit deficit to pull away from Georgia Tech, 77-58. The No. 8 seeded-Jayhawks won their first NCAA Tournament game since 2013, and now they have the unenviable task of facing the No. 1 seed in the Spokane Region, Stanford, on Sunday.
In Austin, No. 2 seed Texas took care of Fairfield, 70-52, and will host Utah on Sunday. The game against the Utes will be the final game in the Erwin Center, and Texas is shooting for its second straight Sweet 16 and its 17th Sweet 16 of all time.
Late on Friday, Iowa State played a heart-pounder, but the No. 3-seeded Cyclones outlasted No. 14 UT-Arlington, 78-71, on the back of Ashley Joens’ 35 points. Iowa State faces Georgia on Sunday, shooting for is first Sweet 16 in more than a decade. It could also be Joens’ last game at Hilton Coliseum, unless she decides to return for her COVID season in 2022-23.
On Saturday, the Kansas State Wildcats set up Oklahoma to finish off the perfect first round by beating Washington State, 50-40, in the first round. Now, the No. 9-seeded Wildcats are preparing to face No. 1 NC State on Monday.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.