No. 6 seed Oklahoma will face No. 11 seed Central Michigan on Saturday.
NORMAN, Okla. -- For the 14th consecutive season, the Sooners are headed to the NCAA Tournament.
The University of Oklahoma was designated the No. 6 seed of the Oklahoma City Regional by the NCAA Championship Selection Committee and will play a first-round game against 11 seed Central Michigan in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, March 23 at 10:10 a.m. CT.
"I'm very excited with a 6 seed and very proud of the representation of the Big 12 Conference in the NCAA Tournament," Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale said. "That's amazing and, I think, because of the respect the committee had for the league, that's probably why we got the seed we did."
Oklahoma is 22-10 overall and went 11-7 in the Big 12, placing third in a conference that had seven teams selected to the tournament field. With two victories, the Sooners have the opportunity to play a Sweet 16 matchup in their backyard.
"That's maybe the best part of it," Coale said. "I know we have to do big things, tough things before we have the opportunity to come back here, but that's the lure. That's the carrot that's out there. Just win two and you get to come home and anything can happen at home. It's a really special opportunity."
No. 3 seed UCLA and No. 14 seed Stetson will meet in the other first-round game in Columbus at 12:30 p.m. Facing UCLA in the second round would be a potential rematch after the Bruins handed the Sooners an 86-80 loss in Norman on Nov. 14.
OU and Central Michigan, an automatic bid as champions of the Mid-American Conference tournament,
will meet for the first time. OU has won seven straight first round games.
The favorable selection was a sweet spot in Oklahoma's season. The Sooners began the year losing two of its veteran frontcourt members, Lyndsey Cloman and Kaylon Williams, in the preseason and then starting guards Whitney
Hand and Maddie Manning in the first month of the season to year-ending injuries.
"It definitely means a lot more because of the struggles and trials we've been through the whole time just to get back to the tournament," OU's leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg said.
Oklahoma advanced to the first of back-to-back Final Fours when Oklahoma City last held a regional in 2009. Hand and senior guard Jasmine Hartman were freshmen on that team.
"We definitely wanted to go to Oklahoma City," OU senior forward Joanna McFarland said. "It was exciting waiting and we got to our regional. I couldn't even remember who would be a 2 seed and a 3 seed. I got really nervous at the end.
"Tournament time is the fun time. You just have to forget about everything (that has happened during the season). You have to play with every ounce of your soul that you have left."
Baylor is the top-seeded team in the Oklahoma City Region. Stanford, Connecticut and Notre Dame were the other No. 1 seeds. Only Notre Dame, who begins in Iowa City, Iowa, will not start the NCAA Tournament on its home court.
The second round game will be played Monday, March 25, with a time to be determined. All games will be televised on ESPN2.
2013 NCAA Tournament Notables
16th Overall Appearance by Oklahoma
Last Appearance: 2012, lost in second round to St. John's (N.Y.), 74-70, in Norman, Okla.
14 consecutive appearances is the seventh longest active streak and 13th longest ever.
All four Division I women's basketball programs in the state of Oklahoma (Oklahoma [at-large], Oklahoma State [at-large], Oral Roberts [Southland] and Tulsa [Conference USA]) made the tournament in the same season for the first time in history.
Oklahoma has advanced past the first round each of the last seven seasons.
Oklahoma's three Final Four appearances (2002, 2009 and 2010) between 2002 and 2012 were the fifth most of any NCAA Division I program.
Sherri Coale's Coaching Record in NCAA Tournament: 25-13
First Round: 12-2
Second Round: 9-4
Regional Semifinal: 3-6
Regional Final: 3-0
National Semifinal: 1-2
National Championship Game: 0-1
OU Hoops Madness Ticket Plan
The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department announced Sunday the "OU Hoops Madness" season ticket promotion. In celebration of March Madness, fans will be able to see a savings on their 2013-14 men's or women's season tickets by committing to next season during this year's NCAA Tournaments.
For every fan who places a non-refundable $25 deposit on any men's or women's season ticket for next year, OU Athletics will match their deposit by taking $25 off their ticket price. Season seats for both programs start as low as $100 and after the $25 deposit-match fans can own a season ticket starting as low as $75 for either program.
OU Hoops Madness Promotional Ticket Prices
Remainder of Cost
Upper North/South, W1-W7
Upper East/West (W2-W6)*
Remainder of Cost
*donation may be required and offer not applicable to donation
"OU Hoops Madness" is open for all current and new season ticket holders. The promotion will conclude at the end of the women's NCAA Tournament on April 9, 2013.
Fans can stand with the Sooners in 2013-14 by calling 800-456-4668 or by clicking here.
OU inspires champions today and prepares leaders for tomorrow by enabling its student-athletes to achieve their highest academic, athletic and personal aspirations. The OU Athletics Department sponsors 21 varsity sports with more than 600 student-athletes and is completely self-supporting.
Sooner Sports Properties, LLC, is the multimedia rights holder for athletics at the University of Oklahoma. Sooner Sports Properties is a joint venture of Learfield Communications, Renda Broadcasting and Griffin Television.