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NCAA Tournament: Oklahoma women top Central Michigan

Joanna McFarland had 18 points and a career-high 17 rebounds and Aaryn Ellenberg scored 18 of her 22 points in the second half Saturday to lead sixth-seeded Oklahoma to a 78-73 victory over Central Michigan in a first-round NCAA women's tournament game.
BY JARROD ULREY, For The Oklahoman Published: March 23, 2013

McFarland disputed the idea that Central Michigan's defensive quickness caused the biggest problems for the Sooners.

“We've had two weeks off and we were fresh,” McFarland said. “It felt good. It was an up-and-down game but it wasn't a detriment to us.

“When Aaryn is hot, it's really exciting. She can hit 30 in about five minutes.”

Ellenberg had just four points in the first half but found her stroke shortly after halftime, going 4-for-5 from 3-point range. She finished 8-for-13 from the floor and with a team-high 22 points, also adding three steals.

Central Michigan got to within 49-47 on a three-point play by Bradford but got three consecutive 3s from Ellenberg to increase the lead to 58-49 with 11:27 to go.

“I honestly was just open,” Ellenberg said. “It was just a matter of waiting for my time.”

The Chippewas were making just their third NCAA Tournament appearance; it was their first since 1984.

Oklahoma led 73-64 with 1:56 left when Central Michigan made one last rally, coming to within 73-68 with 1:04 to go. Niki DiGuilio then missed a 3 that would have cut it to two, and Sharane Campbell and Morgan Hook each hit two free throws to seal the win.

Campbell had 15 points. Hook scored nine points but committed seven turnovers.

“We had wide-open shots that just didn't go in,” Chippewas coach Sue Guevara said. “McFarland is just a beast out there.”