Sooners Meet Gonzaga in First Round Saturday

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Tyler Pigg
By Tyler Pigg
Associate Director of Communications
MARCH 16, 2017
gonzaga
GonzagaOklahoma
23/20 OKLAHOMA
march 18 | 5:40 p.m. (CT) | SEATTLE, WASH. | NCAA TOURNAMENT 1st ROUND

CHAMPIONSHIP BASICS

Making its 20th NCAA Tournament appearance and 18th straight under head coach Sherri Coale, the No. 23/20 Sooners (22-9 overall, 13-5 Big 12) enter Saturday's first-round game against Gonzaga (26-6 overall, 14-4 WCC) as the Oklahoma City Regional's No. 6 seed. The contest will be played at Washington's Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, Wash. Tip-off is set for 5:40 p.m. CT. Gonzaga is the regional's No. 11 seed.

Should the Sooners advance, OU will play Monday against host Washington (No. 3 seed) or Montana State (No. 14). Washington and Montana State will play Saturday night at 8:10 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The Huskies (27-5 overall, 15-3 Pac 12) are hosting an NCAA Tournament First/Second Round game for the first time since 1995 and are 16-1 at home this season. Montana State (25-6, 15-3 Big Sky) is making its second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 1993.

ON THE AIR

Saturday's game will be televised on the ESPN2 with Pam Ward and Gail Goestenkors on the call. The contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network with Brian Brinkley calling the action.

TICKETS

Tickets for the NCAA First/Second Round games in Seattle, Wash., are available here. Fans can reserve all-session tickets for $32.


FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

• Oklahoma boasts a 32-19 (.627) overall NCAA Tournament record and will making its 20th all-time appearance as the Sooners open play with No. 11 seed Gonzaga on Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, Wash. OU, who is seeded No. 6 in the Oklahoma City Regional, is 15-3 all-time in opening round games in the NCAA Tournament.

• The Sooners have made 18 straight NCAA Tournaments under head coach Sherri Coale, the fifth-best active streak in Division I. The run is the ninth-longest streak all-time for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. OU's 20 all-time NCAA Tournament berths are tied for the second-most by a Big 12 team and rank 23rd overall in NCAA history.

• OU is just one of 10 teams in Division I men's or women's basketball to hold an active streak of 18 or more consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee (36), Stanford (30), Connecticut (29), Notre Dame (22) are the only four women's basketball teams that have made more consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament than Oklahoma, while Kansas (28), Duke (22), Michigan State (20), Gonzaga (19) and Wisconsin (19) have all made at least 18 straight trips to the Big Dance on the men's side.

• After entering the NCAA Tournament two years ago with one of the youngest rosters in the nation, OU now boasts a squad of 11 players who have combined to play in 33 postseason games. In last year's NCAA Tournament, Peyton Little led the Sooners by averaging 15.0 points per game, while Vionise Pierre-Louis set an OU NCAA Tournament single-game record with seven blocks versus Purdue.

• OU is 6-4 as a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice (2011 and 2013). The Sooners are 5-0 all-time vs. No. 11 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.


COALE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT

• Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale has led the Sooners to 18 straight NCAA Tournament appearances since 2000. She owns a 30-17 (.638) record and is 14-3 in opening-round games. Coale has guided the Sooners to three Final Fours and nine Sweet 16 appearances.

• Coale is one of seven active coaches to take their current program to three or more Final Fours. The others are: Geno Auriemma (Connecticut), Brenda Frese (Maryland), Sylvia Hatchell (North Carolina), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Kim Mulkey (Baylor) and Tara VanDerveer (Stanford). She is just one of nine active coaches with at least 30 wins in the NCAA Tournament.

• The 21st-year head coach ranks eighth among active coaches with a .638 winning percentage, ninth with 30 victories and 10th with 47 games coached in the NCAA Tournament.


PREVIEWING GONZAGA

• Gonzaga enters the NCAA Tournament with a 26-6 overall record. The Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference regular season title with a 14-4 mark in league play and the postseason tournament championship to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga has made eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament in the last nine years.

• Gonzaga leads the WCC and ranks 49th in Division I averaging 72.3 points per game. The Bulldogs limit their opponents to just 57.8 points a contest, which ranks 43rd in the nation. Gonzaga is second in the WCC with a .429 field goal percentage, fifth with a .333 3-point shooting clip and second with a .775 free throw percentage.

• Redshirt sophomore Jill Barta leads the Zags with 16.9 points a game (ranks 65th in Division I) and is shooting .494 rom the field and .370 from 3-point range. Barta scored 37 in the WCC Tournament championship game against Saint Mary's to become the fourth-fastest player to reach 1,000 points at Gonzaga. Senior forward Kiara Kudron is the only other Bulldog that averages scoring in double figures at 10.0 points a game. She leads the team in rebounding with 7.8 boards per contest.

• Head coach Lisa Fortier is 71-28 in her three seasons at Gonzaga, leading the Bulldogs to two NCAA Tournament appearances in the last three seasons. Fortier is 0-1 as a head coach against Oklahoma.


Gioya Carter
Then freshman Gioya Carter provided the Sooners with 10 points off the bench as OU topped Gonzaga, 82-78, in 2013.

THE STREAK CONTINUES

• Oklahoma's 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances rank as the longest active streak by a team in the Big 12 and the fifth-best active streak among Division I women's basketball teams. OU's 18 straight NCAA bids is the ninth longest streak all-time in Division I.

• Only Tennessee (36), Stanford (30), Connecticut (29) and Notre Dame (22) have made more consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament than the Sooners.


SOONERS VS. POSSIBLE SEATTLE OPPONENTS

• OU is 1-0 all-time against Gonzaga, winning the lone meeting, 82-78, during the 2013 Preseason WNIT in Norman. Former Sooner All-American Aaryn Ellenberg scored the go-ahead basket and finished with 21 points in the victory, while then freshman Gioya Carter added 10 points off the bench.

• The Sooners are 2-2 versus Washington, but have won the last two meetings with the Huskies in 2014 and 2015. Last season, OU went on the road and topped Washington, 71-68, behind 15 points from Maddie Manning. T'ona Edwards hit the go-ahead fast break lay-up with 12 seconds left to give OU the win. Despite Kelsey Plum scoring 45 points, the Sooners defeated the Huskies, 90-80, in Norman in 2014. Oklahoma is 0-1 against Washington in the NCAA Tournament (lost, 84-67, on March 24, 2001, in Spokane, Wash.).

• OU and Montana State have not met since 2003, but the Sooners lead the all-time series, 2-1. Oklahoma won the last meeting, 90-59, in Bozeman, Mont., on Dec. 10, 2003. The teams have never met in the NCAA Tournament.


OPENING ROUND SUCCESS

• Oklahoma is 15-3 all-time in first-round games in the NCAA Tournament The Sooners have won 11 out of their last 12 matchups in the first round with their lone defeat coming to DePaul (104-100) in 2014. OU is 6-4 all-time as a No. 6 seed.


QUICK HITS

• The Sooners are 5-3 all-time when playing in the state of Washington. OU is 0-1 when playing in the NCAA Tournament in the Evergreen State, falling to Washington, 84-67, in the 2001 Sweet 16 in Spokane.

• OU is 1-0 against West Coast Conference opponents this season, defeating BYU, 68-61, in Provo, Utah on Nov. 19. The Sooners are 17-2 all-time against current WCC members.

• Oklahoma has won its 22 games by an average of 14.5 points per game. The Sooners are averaging a .434 field goal and .350 3-point shooting percentage in its victories this season.

• OU's .728 mark at the foul line currently ranks as the eighth-best free throw percentage in school single season history. It would be the best clip from the foul line since the Sooners posted a .748 free throw percentage during the 2013-14 season. This season, the Sooners rank second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage.

• OU has won 30 straight games when it wins the rebounding and turnover margin against its opponent.

• The Sooners are 18-0 this season when limiting their opponents to 70 points or fewer.

• OU's win over Texas Tech on Feb. 11 provided the Sooners with their 20th win of the season. Oklahoma has 15 20-win seasons under Sherri Coale.

• The Sooners are not short on experience this season. Entering Saturday's game, OU's roster boasts 406 career starts among 11 players who have made at least one career appearance in the Sooners' starting five. The foursome of Gioya Carter, Peyton Little, Maddie Manning and Gabbi Ortiz have combined to make 320 starts between them. OU's bench is laden with experience, including T'ona Edwards and VIonise Pierre-Louis who have played in 124 and 95 career games, respectively.

• The Sooners have been ranked in the AP Poll for 40 consecutive weeks (tied for the 10th-longest active streak in the country). OU has been ranked in the AP poll 261 times in the Coale era.


UP NEXT

If Oklahoma beats Gonzaga, the Sooners will face the winner of Washington-Montana State on Monday at Alaska Airlines Arena. Tip-off time to be determined.

For more information on Oklahoma women’s basketball, follow the Sooners on Twitter (@OU_WBBall) or like Oklahoma Sooners Women’s Basketball on Facebook.

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