Oklahoma beats Quinnipiac 111-84 in 1st round of NCAAs
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) After getting through the grind of a difficult Big 12 season, Oklahoma came out in its NCAA opener like a completely different team.
Freshman Gabbi Ortiz scored 16 points and Vionise Pierre-Louis added 15 to lead fifth-seeded Oklahoma to a 111-84 victory over No. 12 seed Quinnipiac in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
''We were just having fun,'' Ortiz said. ''We were sharing the ball. We had 27 assists as a team. That's how the game should be played. We were getting the ball down low and everybody was putting it in. We had a blast.''
Maddie Manning also scored 15 points, McKenna Treece had 14 and Kaylon Williams had 12 for the Sooners (21-11), who advanced to play fourth-seeded Stanford in the second round of the Oklahoma City regional on Monday.
''It seemed like wherever we went, that player was producing,'' coach Sherri Coale said. ''It probably felt like waves for them because it felt like I had waves of options on our bench.''
After starting the season 5-5, the Sooners are hitting their stride late in the season with a win over No. 5 Baylor late in the regular season and now a high-scoring, first-round win with the most inexperienced team in the tournament.
That inexperience with 12 players in their first or second year of eligibility for the Sooners didn't matter against a Quinnipiac team that could not match Oklahoma's size or speed.
Jasmine Martin scored 24 points and Gillian Abshire added 12 for the Bobcats (31-4), who had their 21-game winning streak snapped and failed to earn the first NCAA Tournament win in school history.
''We have some trophies in our trophy case that no one can take away from us,'' said forward Samantha Guastella, one of five senior starters for Quinnipiac. ''We're so upset because we knew we could beat this team. You have to credit them, they shot the lights out. ... But looking back at what we've done, I can't be more proud of my team.''
The Bobcats, fresh off a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament win, fell behind by 10 points less than 3 minutes into the game and never got the deficit back into single digits.
''We just ran into a buzz saw,'' coach Tricia Fabbri said. ''They were ready to go.''
Quinnipiac cut what was once a 20-point deficit down to 11 with a 7-0 run early in the second half capped by a 3-pointer from Maria Napolitano.
But Ortiz then got a steal to break up a 2-on-1 break and took it the other way for a 3-pointer to restore order for the Sooners. Manning hit a 3 on the next possession to build the lead back to 17. Manning hit another 3 just over a minute later to make it 79-56 and the Sooners coasted from there.
The Sooners took control right from the start, scoring three baskets and forced two turnovers in the opening 51 seconds.
Oklahoma scored on its first nine possessions, getting the offensive rebounds on its only two misses in that stretch to take a 21-7 lead.
The Sooners build the lead to 20 points on back-to-back 3-pointers from Nicole Kornet and Ortiz late in the half and went into the break with a 57-40 lead.
Quinnipiac: The Bobcats fell to 0-2 in NCAA Tournament play, having also lost two years ago in the first round to Maryland. ... Quinnipiac's talented class of seniors finished their careers with a 104-30 record.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma's starters scored 50 points, while the reserves had 61. ... The Sooners improved to 9-10 in games away from home.
POUND THE POST
The Sooners three main post players - Williams, Pierre-Louis and Treece - had 41 points on 15-of-20 shooting. Williams had eight points early but played only 6 minutes because of foul trouble. Freshmen Pierre-Louis and Treece took over from there.
''We have a saying, `Bigs let's go eat,''' Pierre-Louis said. ''That's our mission. We tag team.''
Quinnipiac: Season over.
Oklahoma: vs Stanford on Monday.