Oklahoma faces challenge playing Washington in Seattle
Womens College Headlines
Vionise Pierre-Louis nearly pulled off a rare triple-double Saturday with 17 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots.
"The ball just literally came to my hand," the Oklahoma center said. "It was just a reaction. I didn't think before the game I would have that many blocks."
If the 6-foot-4 Pierre-Louis can generate an encore or close to it Monday night when the sixth-seeded Sooners take on third-seeded Washington in the second round of the NCAA Women's Tournament at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, she could help engineer an upset and a trip home.
At stake is a spot in Friday's Oklahoma City Regional semifinals, just a 3-point shot away from the Oklahoma campus in Norman. Suffice it to say that the Sooners (23-9) would enjoy a considerable crowd advantage under that scenario.
To hear the cheers, though, Oklahoma will have to overcome a sellout crowd rooting almost completely for its opponent. And not just any opponent, but one that in Washington (28-5) offers the NCAA's all-time leading scorer in Kelsey Plum and its rebounding leader this season in Chantel Osahor.
What's more, the Huskies (28-5) are not only used to winning at this time of year, having reached the Final Four last season, but should shoot better than they did in Saturday night's 91-63 defeat of Montana State.
Although Plum finished with 29 points and Osahor added 16 points to go with 19 rebounds, Washington barely hit over 40 percent of its field goals and canned just 7 of 29 from behind the 3-point line. It did receive a solid outing from freshman guard Aarion McDonald, who scored 15 points and notched three steals.
"I thought she was great tonight," Huskies coach Mike Neighbors said to the Seattle Times. "Great from start to finish. Any time we needed a big-time energy lift, she was the one who provided it. She's become a crowd favorite pretty fast."
Washington was pretty solid on the defensive end, holding Montana State to 32.3 percent shooting and outrebounding it 51-40. While the Bobcats' Peyton Farris became just the second opponent to outscore Plum in a game this season with 33 points, she also needed 28 shots to get there, making just 10.
Montana State never backed down, but it didn't pose the skill that Oklahoma brings to the floor. And the Sooners also have recent success in head-to-head matchups in their favor, having beaten the Huskies the last two seasons.
A three-peat brings Pierre-Louis and Oklahoma back home.
Updated March 20, 2017