NORMAN — Oklahoma had twice as many turnovers as assists, only one 3-pointer and off nights from all three of its stars. Still, the Sooners are going to the Sweet 16.
OU defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 60-44 in the second round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament on Tuesday. Had the Trojans been able to hit a few more wide-open looks and capitalize on a couple more miscues, the Sooners might be checking in their uniforms instead of packing their bags for Kansas City. This team has been so-so so far in the tournament. Reason to sound the alarm? It might seem that way, since second-seeded Notre Dame awaits on Sunday, but the truth is, these Sooners have a way of elevating their performance against good opponents. "It’s funny how every team has its own identity and becomes what they become over the course of a long season,” Sooner coach Sherri Coale said. "We don’t blow anybody out.” The notable exception: a 33-point victory against Oklahoma State on Senior Day. "But this team has played great in every big game that we’ve had all year,” Coale said. "Connecticut. Nebraska. We haven’t always won them all, but we’ve played extremely well.” That, they have. And the Sooners will need to do the same against the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is the only team, after all, to lead Connecticut at halftime this season during the Huskies’ historic winning streak. Play like they did Tuesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center, and the Sooners won’t be spending very long in Kansas City. "Notre Dame had a great win tonight,” Sooner point guard Danielle Robinson said of its 84-66 victory against Vermont. "Skylar played awesome.” Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins scored a season-high 31 points in the game, which finished right before OU’s tipped off. A few minutes after Robinson exited the postgame press conference, Coale recalled her comment. "What’re you doin’ watchin’ that game before we play?” Coale said.