Tennessee used a 25-5 first-half run and cruised to a 74-69 victory in the Sweet 16 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday evening. Tennessee (27-7) will play in the Elite Eight on Tuesday night at 9 p.m., on ESPN. The No. 2 seeded Lady Vols await the winner of the Baylor/Louisville game, which took place after UT’s game on Sunday in Oklahoma City.
Tennessee advanced to the Elite Eight for the 26th time in school history and third year in a row. The Lady Vols are a remarkable 26-5 all-time in regional semifinal games and an NCAA-best 115-23 all-time in 138 NCAA Tournament contests.
Senior Kamiko Williams continued her torrid la
The Lady Vols’ defense was incredible all game, limiting Oklahoma to just 23-of-75 from the floor for 30.7 percent. The Sooners made just 17.2 percent from 3-point range, hitting just 5-of-29 from beyond the arc.
Sixth-seeded Oklahoma (24-11) was led by Sharane Campbell, who scored a game-high 22 points. Joanna McFarland had 14 points and 16 rebounds. The Sooners suffered a major blow when guard Morgan Hook was injured early in the game and did not return.
For the second postseason game in a row, Williams keyed the Lady Vols as they built a sizeable first-half lead. Williams tallied 13 in the first half as UT held a 44-27 lead at halftime. With the game tied at 11, five minutes into the action, Tennessee outscored Oklahoma, 33-16, over the final 15 minutes to lead by 17 at halftime.
Tennessee’s defense held Oklahoma to just 28.2 percent from the floor in the first half. The Sooners had a significant drought midway through the first half, making just 1-of-19 shots in just under 10 minutes of action.
Williams’ sparked a 15-2 spurt to put the Lady Vols ahead, 26-13 with 10 minutes left in the first half, causing OU to call timeout. The Lady Vols held Oklahoma without a point for 4:25 before McFarland ended a 10-0 spurt. UT also had a run of holding the Sooners without a field goal for 5:27 later in the half.
The Lady Vols shot 53 percent in the first half. Tennessee opened the game making nine of its first 13 field goal attempts including its first three 3-point tries.
Ahead by 17 at halftime, Tennessee struggled early in the second half as the Lady Vols were held off the scoreboard for the first 4:41 until Ariel Massengale knocked home a jumper after Oklahoma had cut its deficit to 13 points. Once UT got on track, the Lady Vols got it going on both ends of the floor.
Tennessee made seven of 10 shots while forcing Oklahoma to miss 15 of 16 shots from the floor spanning just under 10 minutes early in the second half.
The Lady Vols scored nine points in a row to take a 25-point lead, 59-34 on a lay-up by Harrison and a 3-pointer by Massengale with 9:42 left in the game.
The lead ballooned to 28 on a Spani lay-up with 7:21 left in the game, 63-35.
Oklahoma cut the deficit to 15 points in the final seconds, but Tennessee celebrated its return to the Elite Eight with the wire-to-wire victory.
This was the first meeting between the programs in the postseason. The Lady Vols now lead the all-time series with the Sooners, 5-1.