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Notre Dame Routs Oklahoma to Punch Ticket to Sweet Sixteen

The Fighting Irish handed the Sooners their worst NCAA Tournament loss in program history on OU's home floor on Monday.

NORMAN — The spring storm blanketing Norman spilled into the Lloyd Noble Center on Monday afternoon.

Unfortunately for Oklahoma, it was a downpour of Notre Dame 3-pointers that flooded the Sooners, as the Fighting Irish topped the Sooners 108-64.

Niele Ivey’s 5-seeded Fighting Irish (24-8) were unfazed by having to hit the road for the NCAA Tournament, as they shot 40 percent from deep to eliminate the 4-seeded Sooners and secure a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

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The defeat was the worst NCAA Tournament loss in program history, as the 44-point margin topped OU’s 86-58 loss to Stanford in the 2015 tournament.

"I thought Notre Dame was phenomenal, and if they can continue to do that, watch out, everybody," OU head coach Jennie Baranczyk said after the game. "We needed to be better, and we weren't. That's on us as a coaching staff for not having us ready."

As Baranczyk’s first season comes to a close in Norman, the loss put a damper on the year. The Sooners finished 25-9, which was still one of the best year-to-year improvements in the country this year.

Notre Dame guard Dara Mabrey got the onslaught rolling early. The senior hit four straight triples to help fuel a 22-2 Irish run that opened up an early 18 point lead.

"We got lost in transition on (Mabrey)," Oklahoma guard Taylor Robertson said after the game. "Obviously she's a really good shooter, and we really needed to key in on her and not let her get open looks, and then after that started happening we were down quite a few, and it was just uphill from there and just trying to find a way to get back into it."

Mabrey scored 17 of her 29 points in the first quarter and Notre Dame forced seven Oklahoma turnovers to lead 35-12 after 10 minutes of action.

Things didn’t get any better for the Sooners in the second quarter.

Notre Dame forced another nine turnovers, and finished the half on a 10-0 run to take a 60-25 lead into the locker room.

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Oklahoma did a much better job taking care of the ball in the second half, but still couldn’t cut into the Notre Dame lead.

Robertson was the only Sooner who really got anything going in the contest.

Taylor Robertson led OU with 19 points against Notre Dame

Taylor Robertson led OU with 19 points against Notre Dame

The OU senior finished with 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting, an outlier in an otherwise dismal shooting performance by Oklahoma.

Liz Scott and Skylar Vann were the other two Sooners who scored double-digits, both finishing with 11 points each.

Outside of Robertson, the rest of the roster combined to shoot just 30.2 percent from the floor.

Oklahoma committed a season-high 28 turnovers which Notre Dame converted into 31 points on the other end of the floor.

"They were red hot shooting," Baranczyk said. "We were missing some uncharacteristic shots, and then we were hesitant on our passes and then we passed it to them, so we would have cutters open and then we just were — we were rattled. 

"We were just off enough that we ended up passing to them and had obviously way too many live ball turnovers that turned into — that's the difference in the game. So those are some things we'll have to really work on in the off-season."

The Fighting Irish advance to meet the top-seeded NC State Wolfpack in the Sweet Sixteen, while the Sooners will enter the offseason looking to build on the promising first year under Baranczyk. 

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