When the Sooners were 5-5 in non-conference play earlier this season, it was tough imagining them making the NCAA Tourament, much less imagining them winning a game in it. But after finishing in second place in the Big 12, Oklahoma came ready to play in the NCAA Tournament. Their 111 points against Quinnipiac showed that despite their lack of experience you should never count out a Sherri Coale coached basketball team.
Speaking of inexperience, Sooners freshman point guard Gabbi Ortiz lead the team with 16 points and three assists with two steals. Not bad for a first NCAA Tournament game. Freshman forward Vionise Pierre-Louis scored 15 points in their 27-point win, proving that one of the most inexperienced teams in the tournament is still a team to be reckoned with. A scoring team is a scary team to face in the tournament, especially when they are on a hot streak as the Sooners appear to be on at the moment. Is it likely they score 100 again? Doubtful. But if their freshman can keep the pace going, they're going to be tough to beat as Quinnipiac discovered Saturday afternoon.
Six players finished in double figures, including three freshmen. Sharane Campbell-Olds had a near double-double with 11 points and nine boards. Campbell-Olds' consistency will be key for the Sooners if they hope to make a possible Sweet 16 run in the tournament. Her senior presence is vital to the teams success, even if the younger players made their mark in the first game.
Oklahoma's next opponent will be better competition than their first opponent. The fourth seeded Stanford Cardinal won the Pac 12 tournament and their first game against thirteenth seeded CSU Northridge, 73-60. Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer recorded her 800th career victory in her team's win. If the Sooners come out the way they did in their first round, then VanDerveer might have to wait until next season to reach 801. Overcoming that home court advantage might be a tough task for the inexperienced Sooners, as it should be a fairly even match up between two perennial powerhouse women basketball programs.
The Oklahoma-Stanford game Is set for 5:30 CT this Monday. The winner will travel to Oklahoma City to play either ninth seed DePaul or one seed Notre Dame in the Sweet 16.