March 11, 2003

Quotes

DALLAS (AP) -- Dionnah Jackson scored 14 points and Maria Villarroel had 13 to lead a balanced attack as Oklahoma beat Nebraska 71-51 on Tuesday in the first round of the Big 12 Conference women's tournament.

The fifth-seeded Sooners (19-11) pulled away from the slumping Cornhuskers after halftime, running off nine straight points to take a 36-19 lead.

Nebraska (8-20) never got closer than 13 points after that as Oklahoma emptied its bench and maintained its earlier scoring pace.

"We really competed and shared the ball offensively,'' Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "That's exactly what you need at this time of year.''

Sooners center Theresa Schuknecht scored all 12 of her points in the second half and grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Sooners, Big 12 champions and NCAA Tournament finalists last season, have now won four of their past five games.

It was a merciful end to a disappointing season for first-year Nebraska coach Connie Yori.

After starting the season 8-1, including an upset of then-No. 25 Cincinnati, the Cornhuskers tailed off dramatically as they battled through injuries and suspensions. Yori even recruited two volleyball players to add depth to her team.

With Tuesday's defeat, Nebraska finished the season on a nine-game losing skid and dropped 17 of its last 18.

"It's been a difficult season ... but we fought hard all year and continued to do that today,'' said Yori, who coached at Creighton last year. "At times, we just don't have the big weapons to compete in the Big 12.''

Alexa Johnson had 11 points for the Cornhuskers on 5-of-20 shooting, and was the only Nebraska player to score in double figures.

Oklahoma moves on to face fourth-seeded Colorado on Wednesday.