The first five minutes of the second half epitomized some of the ups and downs Oklahoma had during its 78-73 win over Central Michigan on Saturday.
After the Sooners led 43-34 by halftime, the Chippewas grabbed the first four offensive rebounds and forced two turnovers early in the second half to rally to within 45-41.
Also during that sequence, however, Central Michigan went just 2-for-7 from the floor, including a missed layup.
The Chippewas never got closer than four during the game's remainder, and the Sooners took their biggest lead at 71-60 with 3:10 remaining.
“We opened up the second half by giving up about five offensive rebounds and five turnovers,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “We just kind of panicked a little and handed them the ball a few times. It sort of snowballed from there. But we regained some poise and just started to steady things.”
FIRST-ROUND JITTERS GET BETTER OF CMU
Although Central Michigan hasn't been to the NCAA women's tournament since 1984, coach Sue Guevara believed her team was mentally ready for the experience.
A 10-0 run that gave Oklahoma a 20-10 lead with 11:15 left in the first half made her question that assumption.
“I was surprised at a couple people who were as tight as they were,” Guevara said. “We were able to get to the rack but missed some layups. I thought we were ready for the game mentally because of what we did last week (while winning the Mid-American Conference tournament). I thought we were doing what we wanted to do (in the first half).”
OKLAHOMA TO GET UCLA REMATCH
UCLA (26-7) had no trouble getting past Stetson on Saturday, setting up a rematch Monday night with the Sooners. The Bruins beat Oklahoma 86-80 in the Sooners' Nov. 14 home opener.
The third-seeded Bruins beat Stetson 66-49 as Nirra Fields had 13 points, Jasmine Dixon had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Atonye Nyingifa added 10 points and eight rebounds.
CAMPBELL, KORNET FUEL SOONERS
Sophomore starting guard Sharane Campbell and backup freshman forward Nicole Kornet could be considered the unsung heroes of the Sooners' first-round win.
Campbell, who came in averaging 9.2 points, was 4-for-8 from the floor and seven of seven from the free-throw line to score 15 points.
Kornet made a pair of 3s and scored all seven of her points in the first half.
“I thought we got some good minutes from Sharane and really good minutes from Kornet off the bench,” Coale said.