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Sooner women head on to the Sweet 16

by Berry Tramel Modified: March 25, 2009 at 8:26 am •  Published: March 25, 2009

/> "We feel very blessed to have the opportunity to go back there and play,” Coale said. "We have an unbelievable fan base in Oklahoma. A group of fans we felt like we let down in the Big 12 Tournament.”

Prediction: The fans won’t be let down next week at the Ford Center. This was OU’s big hurdle. A tough matchup (athletic pressure) in a sterile environment. The Sooners are Final Four bound.

They certainly got Final Four guard play Tuesday night. While Courtney Paris struggled — she almost had her first single-single as a Sooner, getting her 10th rebound with just 1:29 left in the game, to go with nine points — Robinson and Hand were splendid: 32 points combined, on 10-of-14 shooting, with nine assists and six turnovers.

They handled Georgia Tech’s pressure all game long, and Tech’s other strength — maniacal rebounding — was countered by Ashley Paris, who had 16 rebounds.

Coale said she was more irritated than worried at halftime, irritated at easy shots that didn’t go in. Those easy shots came again the second half; this time they fell.

In the closing seconds, Robinson jumped into the arms of assistant coach Jan Ross as the Sooners celebrated not just with the exuberance of making the Sweet 16, but knowing where that fruit stand is located.

Oklahoma City. Which should lead to the Final Four.

Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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Oklahoma City Regional: At the Ford Center Sunday →Purdue vs. Rutgers, 6:30 p.m.

→Oklahoma vs. Pittsburgh, 9 p.m.

Tuesday →Regional final, 8 p.m.

Tickets
→$52 and $34 and available at ticketmaster.com and the Ford Center box office (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays).

EMPTY SEATS
Attendance was listed as 2,853 but was closer to 1,500 with hometown Iowa knocked out in the first round, with perhaps 200 OU fans on hand.

"Our guys would be motivated if they locked the doors and kept everybody out,” said Sooner coach Sherri Coale.

FOUL TROUBLE
Strange but true. Courtney Paris went out with foul trouble in both halves, and the Sooners didn’t wilt without her.

Carlee Roethlisberger again played well off the bench, and Abi Olajuwon provided valuable minutes. "It was everybody taking responsibility,” Coale said.

MISSING IN ACTION
Both teams were missing starters. Georgia Tech’s leading scorer, Alex Montgomery, didn’t make the trip due to a knee injury. OU’s Amanda Thompson played only three minutes, due to a foot injury.

The Yellow Jackets missed Montgomery more. With no 3-point threat for Georgia Tech, OU played a sagging defense. The Jackets were 1-of-13 from 3-point range.

OU’s Nyeshia Stevenson ably replaced Thompson in the starting lineup and scored eight points, with just two turnovers.

By Berry Tramel

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