March 24, 2013

 

(23-10)
 
  1st 2nd F
 (6) Oklahoma - - -
 3) UCLA - - -
 
TV: ESPN2 | Live Stats | Live Audio | Bracket | Postgame

(26-7)
 
 
 Monday, March 25 | 6:15 p.m. CT | St. John Arena | Columbus, Ohio
 Television  Radio  Online
 ESPN2
 Clay Matvik & Swin Cash
 Sooner Radio Network
 Brian Brinkley & Colton Coale
 ESPN3.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The names on the front of the jerseys are the same, yet the people wearing them may not be.

It's been 4 1/2 months since UCLA and Oklahoma last met on a basketball court. Both sides say what happened then has almost no bearing on their NCAA women's second-round showdown Monday night at Ohio State's St. John Arena.

''That was the second game of the season,'' Bruins power forward Alyssia Brewer said. ''There's been a lot of games in between for both of the teams.''

Circumstances have dictated change for both the sixth-seeded Sooners (23-10) and third-seeded UCLA (26-7).

Tournament Central | Sunday News Conference Quotes: OU | UCLA

''We've grown exponentially since that game,'' Sooners coach Sherri Coale said of the 86-80 home loss to the Bruins back on Nov. 14. ''I can go down a litany of areas in which we've improved. The biggest difference is the identity of our team, though. We weren't hard-fired at that time. We hadn't been through all that we've now been through.''

The Bruins have undergone change, but a lot of it may have stemmed from that night in Norman, Okla.

''I do think it was a major turning point for us as a program,'' said second-year UCLA coach Cori Close, who had seven new players on the court in that game. ''I remember walking behind the players out to the bus after that game and listening to them talk. I leaned over to one of my assistants and I said, 'This is a formidable day.' Because I could hear how they were processing the experience: 'That was fun.' 'That meant something.' 'We were so together.' They were reliving not only the win but the way it happened.''

The differences for Oklahoma, ranked No. 11 at the time, were more tangible. Less than a month later, the Sooners lost perhaps their best player, versatile guard Whitney Hand, to a season-ending knee injury. Top freshman sub Maddie Manning also went down with a torn ACL.

''We lost two big-minute players, so a lot of us have had to take on new roles,'' said Oklahoma forward Joanna McFarland. ''That changed the complete makeup of our team.''

Nothing has come easy for the Sooners, it seems, including their 78-73 win over pesky Central Michigan in Saturday's first-round game.

But the experience of so many close calls has helped meld and mold the team.

''We've had our backs squarely against the wall repeatedly throughout the course of the season, and we've learned how to fight our way out. At that time, we were just trying to figure out who we were,'' Coale said. ''We did fight back in that game and we made a run at the end and it was close and made some big shots and made some big plays.

''It was like (we were saying), 'Hey, I didn't know I could do that.' Now we do. We've done that over and over and over. Now it's a part of who we are, a part of our character as a team.''

The details of the first meeting could be revealing. The Bruins pulled away early in the second half to build an 18-point lead, then hung on at the finish. UCLA dominated the Sooners inside, scoring 46 points in the paint. Much of that damage was done on putbacks, with 23 points coming off a staggering 24 offensive rebounds.

''We got whipped on every single offensive board that they got,'' Oklahoma guard Morgan Hook said. ''Everyone knows how to rebound; it's just a want-to. That's what we need to have in our mind, is we have to want the ball more than they do.''

 Head-to-Head: Projected Starters
10  Morgan Hook
 5-10 | Junior | Lowell, Ark.
PG
23  Markel Walker
 6-1 | Guard | Philadelphia, Pa.
PPG RPG APG PPG RPG APG
10.4 3.4 5.4 10.5 7.3 5.6
3  Aaryn Ellenberg
 5-7 | Junior | Las Vegas, Nev.
SG
14  Mariah Williams
 5-4 | Senior | Colorado Springs, Colo.
PPG RPG APG PPG RPG APG
18.6 3.5 2.1 3.8 1.8 2.2
24  Sharane Campbell
 5-10 | Soph. | Spencer, Okla.
SF
11  Atonye Nyingifa
 5-11 | Junior | Torrance, Calif.
PPG RPG APG PPG RPG APG
9.4 4.3 1.2 11.4 7.4 1.2
53  Joanna McFarland
 6-2 | Senior | Derby, Kan.
PF
33  Jasmine Dixon
 6-0 | Senior | Long Beach, Calif.
PPG RPG APG PPG RPG APG
9.5 10.2 0.9 8.0 5.5 1.3
4  Nicole Griffin
 6-6 | Junior | Center
C
32  Alyssia Brewer
 6-3 | Senior | Tulsa, Okla.
PPG RPG APG PPG RPG APG
11.6 5.0 1.0 11.1 7.8 1.7

OKLAHOMA STORYLINES
• Oklahoma improved its record in the NCAA First Round to 13-2 all-time with a 78-73 win over Central Michigan on March 23. The Sooners have won eight straight first round games.
• Oklahoma is 4-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament against teams it faced in the regular season. The two losses were to Connecticut when the Huskies won national titles in 2000 and 2002.
• UCLA outrebounded the Sooners 57-33 when the Bruins won in Norman, 86-80, on Nov. 14. It was the largest rebounding margin by an OU opponent this season.
• Senior forward Joanna McFarland has averaged 12.7 points and 13.0 rebounds in the Big 12 and NCAA postseason. McFarland was held scoreless with three rebounds in the first meeting with UCLA.
• The Sooners are 18-0 this season when leading at halftime; 4-11 when tied or trailing; 22-1 when their field goal percentage is higher than their opponent's; and 19-1 when holding their opponent to 40 percent or lower field goal shooting.

UCLA STORYLINES
• UCLA opened its first round victory with an 11-0 start before beating 14-seed Stetson 66-49.
• The all-time series between OU and UCLA is tied 2-2, and each team is 1-1 on its home floor. Monday's meeting is the first on a neutral court.
• The Bruins had only one loss this season to a team that is not a No. 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA fell to Cal State Northridge 77-72 in Los Angeles on Dec. 20. OU beat CSUN 79-57.
• Like the Sooners, the Bruins have had their share on injuries. Only three players have seen action in every game, forcing UCLA to use 11 different starting lineups.