An estimated 2,500 Nebraska fans and at least 1,000 Oklahoma fans are expected to be at the Sprint Center tonight. Could the Big Reds collude and create a homecourt advantage for each other? "I thought Nebraska fans were phenomenal,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. "What we’re hoping for is a little Big 12 love in the arena, and we’ll figure it out on Tuesday if we’re fortunate enough (to both win) tomorrow night.” OU ranked sixth nationally in average home attendance, 7,945. Nebraska ranked eighth with 7,390.
Seniors showdownNotre Dame starts four seniors. OU starts three seniors. But Coale said young players are as likely to determine tonight’s game. Neither point guard is a senior (Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins is a freshman, OU’s Danielle Robinson is a junior). "I’ve seen seniors try too hard and press and get in their own way,” Coale said. "And then I’ve seen seniors so hungry they become super human. So I think it can be an either/or or maybe a combination. I always think underclassmen play a key role down the stretch.”
Suit her upDuring practice Saturday at the Sprint Center, OU’s Nyeshia Stevenson launched 30-footers from the Big 12 logo. She kept barely missing. Teammate Whitney Hand, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in November, grabbed a ball and with her first shot — and landing on her good leg — swish.
Familiar faceFormer OU All-American Stacey Dales will be the analyst tonight for Westwood One Radio’s national broadcast.
Irish standardUnder 23-year coach Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame has appeared in 17 NCAA Tournaments, including a streak of 15 straight. The Irish has made the Sweet 16 eight times in the last 14 years and reached two Final Fours. Notre Dame won the NCAA title in 2001. "Your program develops an attitude of winning, and no matter who you have in the program, somebody is going to pick up that attitude,” McGraw said. McGraw said the same thing appears to be happening at OU, which rebuilt this season without the Paris sisters, then retooled after the injury to Hand. "What a fantastic year,” McGraw said. "They have had just a sensational season.”
Big 12 prideBaylor’s upset of top-seeded Tennessee on Saturday set off a wave of Big 12 pride. "The Big 12 is the best league in the country, top to bottom with depth,” said Nebraska coach Connie Yori. "Baylor lost to Missouri this year. Missouri finished 12th in our league. That’s just the nature of our league.”
Quoteboard→Notre Dame’s Ashley Barlow, on OU’s Amanda Thompson: "She’s a matchup problem for lots of people, because she’s just so big and so athletic. Boxing her out would be a big key for us.” →OU’s Thompson: "We’re trying to make it to the end, to the very end. It would mean the world to us if we make it to the last game. It would just be fun.” →Notre Dame’s Becca Bruszewski, on OU’s Abi Olajuwon: "She’s definitely more comfortable going with either hand in the post. Before, it was easy ... just jump out to her left side. But she’s more versatile now.” →Notre Dame’s McGraw: "Our bench has been outstanding throughout the Big East and the first two (NCAA) rounds. They’ve actually been leading us in scoring on a couple of occasions, which is great to see.”