Oklahoma bowl picks (sort of) and a look at just how good the Thunder is heading to 2014

Michael Cross and I sat down for our last Sports Talk segment on KOSU for 2013. I mish-mashed about the bowl games…. I do believe both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State can win their bowls, Cotton and Sugar respectively. In fact, as of today, I would pick both the Cowboys and the Sooners to win in upsets. But the games are a few weeks off, injuries and player wanderings happen, so that could change… but I’ll say it now: Alabama is not as good as the past few years offensively and Missouri is dang good, but there’s something crazy about OSU’s big-play ability.

Any hoo, if you missed our KOSU segment, you can hear it here…

Bedlam Final Score 2013

Talking Sports On KOSU-FM

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 7.16.11 PM

Here’s a link to this week’s segment as I sit down with Michael Cross and talk about OSU’s need to show their swagger, OU’s national championship chances and the Thunder without Russell Westbrook.

http://kosu.org/2013/10/sports-talk/

Sports Talk on KOSU-FM for Wed October 16, 2013

What a day for local college sports fans in Oklahoma

Not even counting AAA Redhawks baseball Saturday night or the NBA Thunder’s big playoff matchup this afternoon against Memphis, sports fans have had a dizzying day.

The top-ranked Sooners softball team wrapped up the Big 12 title with a 4-0 win over rival Oklahoma State.

OSU took game their second straight game of the three game weekend Bedlam Series from the Sooners in an afternoon game at Bricktown Ballpark in OKC. They’ll look to salvage a game from the Cowboys Sunday afternoon as they try to get a spot in the NCAA tourney.

The OU Men’s tennis team moved into lofty territory, as the 14th ranked sooners. Advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 4-0 win in Norman over NC State in the opening round of the NCAA tourney. They play 3rd ranked Georgia Thursday in Urbana, Ill.

The women were knocked out in the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga. after dropping their opening match to Arizona State. Two Sooner players continue on to the singles/doubles championships next week: the doubles team of Hermon Brhane and Whitney Richey.

OSU women’s tennis won their opening round at theNcAAs, beating Long Beach State.

And the OU Women’s golf squad is on their way to Athens next week for the NCAA Finals after a second place finish in the NCAA Central Regional in Norman. OU stood in second behind Duke with a few groups still on the course late when a weather delay stopped play before 5 pm central time. Those schools still playing won’t change the top two teams.

The OSU women’s golf team is playing in the East Regional and poised to advance to the championships as well.

Sooners fans can get the latest on the school’s website at soonersports.com
Cowboys fans can go to ok state.com for more on their teams.

Coale to Coach America’s Best

OSU @ Oklahoma<br />February 10, 2013I think the USA women’s basketball future is in the right hands, with the announcement of the University of Oklahoma’s Sherri Coale as new coach of the team as they prepare for the World University Games this summer in Russia. If my daughter had played hoops at this level, I would have loved her to play for Coale, and I can’t think of a higher compliment.

See the press release below or find more on their website at soonersports.com.

NORMAN, Okla. – University of Oklahoma head women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale will lead Team USA at the 2013 Women’s World University Games this summer in Kazan, Russia, USA Basketball announced Tuesday.

It is Coale’s first head coaching assignment with USA Basketball. Coale served as an assistant for the 2001 bronze-medal winning Junior World Championship Team and as a USA Basketball Women’s Collegiate Committee member from 2005 to 2008.

“It was an absolute honor to serve USA Basketball as both an assistant coach and a selection committee member,” Coale said. “Representing our country via this sport that I love is the ultimate opportunity–an opportunity that I don’t take lightly and one that I am humbled to accept.”

Coale will be assisted by Brian Giorgis, head coach of Marist College, and Coquese Washington, head coach at Penn State. The staff was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.

“In addition to the experience of coaching some of our country’s finest collegiate athletes,” Coale added. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside of Brian and Coquese. I have great respect for each of these coaches, not only for the programs they have built on their respective campuses, but also for their ambassadorship of our game. I look forward to learning from them and working with them to make this an amazing experience for the student athletes we will lead into international competition.”

Organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and held every other year, the World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born Jan. 1, 1989 through Dec. 31, 1995). USA Basketball considers athletes with remaining collegiate eligibility only. The 2013 World University Games will be played July 8-15.

Including the USA and host Russia a total of 16 nations will compete in the 2013 World University Games women’s basketball competition, which also will feature teams from Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Mongolia, Poland, Sweden, Taiwan and Ukraine.

“Obviously all three coaches have been successful,” Jim Foster, Ohio State head coach and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, said. “Sherri has had international experience, and Coquese has had the opportunity to serve on a committee for USA Basketball. It’s a staff where their strengths complement each other.”

USA Basketball women’s teams have participated in 16 prior World University Games and collected a record eight gold medals, six silvers and one bronze medal. Further, since 1973, the first year the USA women competed in the WUGs, the United States has compiled a 95-15 record.

Team USA posted a 6-0 record en route to a gold medal in the 2011 World University Games.

Trials to select the 12-member team will take place May 16-19 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., and approximately 35 players will be invited by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee. A final training camp will resume at the USOTC June 25.

Chaired by Foster, the 2013-16 USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb, California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb and Central Florida head coach Joi Williams, as well as athlete representative Kara Lawson, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist who has been a part of nine USA Basketball teams.

USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.

USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions in the Olympics, men’s and women’s FIBA World Championships; women’s FIBA U19 World Champions; men’s and women’s FIBA U17 World Champions; and the men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas champions; as well as winners of the women’s FIBA 3X3 World Championship and 3×3 U18 World Championship.

Brace the snow, watch OU Women vs Baylor for free

The University of Oklahoma may be closed down for studies due to inclement weather, but the game – at least for now – will go on at Lloyd Noble Center tonight (Monday, February 25, 2013.)The OU women are hosting the defending national champs and the NCAA Player of the Year from Baylor in a key Big 12 matchup.

They’re letting anyone who can make it in for free; hopefully only those who live within a snow walk of the game will brave expected bad road conditions. Baylor was obviously already in town, and since it’s a nationally televised game (ESPN2) the game goes on.

They’re also giving away free hats to the first thousand folks in attendance.  I’ll be home watching it and hoping everyone gets in and out safely tonight, as central Oklahoma tries to avoid the brunt of a huge winter storm that is hammering the western part of the state and the Texas panhandle.

The bummer is this week’s taping of SoonerSports Pad is off. We have a terrific package done by student Michael Runyan profiling Morgan Hook, the team’s starting point guard. I guess we will run it next week!

Here’s the story from sooner sports.com

NORMAN, Okla. – Due to expected inclement weather, admission to Monday’s women’s basketball game between Oklahoma and Baylor, tipping off at 6 p.m., at Lloyd Noble Center will be free. Here are details on the game:

FREE ADMISSION
All fans will be admitted free of charge (doors open at 4:30 p.m.). However, season ticket holders and other fans who purchased tickets for the game in advance will have first right to occupy their reserved seat locations. If you already have tickets, please bring those with you for access to that seat location.

For those without tickets, all seats not occupied by the season ticket holder or by fans who purchased tickets in advance will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

PARKING
Parking lots on all sides of Lloyd Noble Center are expected to be open.

FREE HATS FOR FIRST 1,000
Monday’s promotion of Coach Coale-designed hats given to the first 1,000 fans through doors will continue as scheduled. The hat is also available for purchase on OU’s official online store.

Ricketts and Sooners race to the top of the National softball poll

It’s hard not to be a big fan of women’s softball if you love college sports. The game is played with passion, innovation – and even guys like me who mainly played baseball can regularly say, “Damn, I couldn’t hit that pitch!”

Just watch Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne in the circle, Lauren Chamberlain and company and the Oklahoma Sooners destroy their opponents and you’ll see what I mean.

And they work for it. Our sports anchor Carter Baum went to softball practice today, which was pretty much cancelled because of snow and rain. The only thing: practice wasn’t exactly cancelled. The key players like the aforementioned Keilani and Chamberlain had already worked out and practiced on their own earlier in the day at the indoor sports complex. That’s how athletes and teams get great. Leaders lead in practice and on the field.

Here’s a nice press release from OU about the Sooners stars this week gaining some national recognition.

Feb. 12, 2013

NORMAN, Okla. – Standout performances by senior pitcher Keilani Ricketts and sophomore infielder Lauren Chamberlain gave the University of Oklahoma softball team a clean sweep of the major national and conference awards, it was announced Monday.

Ricketts was named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week by USA Softball and the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, while Chamberlain was crowned as the Big 12 Player of the Week.

It marks the third time Ricketts has been recognized as the NFCA Player of the Week after earning recognition in both 2011 and 2012. She was also named the USA Softball Player of the Week on Feb. 23, 2010 and becomes the first Sooner to win the award more than once.

She has been named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week 12 times throughout her career after earning the honor three times as a freshman, twice as a sophomore and six times in her junior season.

Chamberlain has now been named the Big 12 Player of the Week four times in her career, more than any other player in the league dating back to last season. In fact, since Chamberlain joined the Sooners no other player has won Player of Week honors more than twice.

NFCA Player of the Week | USA Softball Player of the Week | Big 12 Honors

The awards come after a dominant opening weekend that saw the Sooners, No. 1 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll, go 5-0, including a 6-0 win over No. 21 Stanford and 12-0 win in five innings over No. 5 Oregon.

Ricketts was the star in the circle for OU, hurling a pair of no-hitters in the wins over the Cardinal and Ducks. In the season opener against Stanford, the senior lefthander threw the second no-hitter of her career, with 14 strikeouts, and hit a solo home run in the first inning. She yielded just five baserunners and only one ball reached the outfield against the San Jose, Calif., native.

She threw her second no-hitter in as many games on Saturday against Oregon. En route to career win No. 100, the senior lefty allowed just two baserunners against the Ducks on a walk and error. Of her 15 outs in the game, 10 came via strike out.

In taking down the No. 21 and No. 5 teams in the country, Ricketts struck out 24 in 12 innings of work. She now has three career no-hitters, becoming the fifth pitcher in OU history to reach that figure.

This season, Ricketts has registered a 2-0 record with 28 strikeouts over 14 innings of work and has allowed the opposition to hit at just a .096 clip. At the plate she has posted a .300 batting average with a home run, three run batted in, five walks and a .533 on-base percentage.

As dominant as Ricketts was in the circle, Chamberlain was just as dominant at the plate.

As the leadoff hitter in all five games, she hit .636 (7-11) with four home runs, 12 runs scored and 12 runs batted in. In addition, she walked six times and was hit by three pitches, giving her a .800 on-base percentage. She also slugged 1.727.

Currently, she leads the Big 12 in home runs, walks, runs scored, RBI, OBP and slugging.

Chamberlain started the season by reaching base in her first 10 plate appearances. She was 5-5 with four home runs, drew four walks and was hit by a pitch before making her first out.

She homered in the first game of the season against No. 21 Stanford, and followed with two more home runs, including a grand slam, against Oregon State. The Trabuco Canyon, Calif., native scored four runs and drove in six more against the Beavers.

Final: OU 73-67 Sooners Men’s Hoops Vs Texas

(Updated at end of game)
Senior forward Romero Osby scored a career high 29 points to go with 8 rebounds to lead Oklahoma to a 73-67 win over Big 12 rival Texas, giving the Longhorns (8-10) an 0-6 mark for the first time in their Big 12 history. The Sooners improved to 13-4 and 4-1 with their 6th win in seven games.
Junior Amath M’Baye threw down three spectacular dunks via the lob and finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Freshman Buddy Hield was also in double figures with 12 points, as Oklahoma shot 48 percent from the field against the nation’s number two FG% defense.

The Longhorns narrowed a double digit second half deficit to four points when Cameron Ridley’s three made it 69-65 with 1:00 to play. before the Sooners closed out the win. Oklahoma next plays Saturday at Kansas.

Sheldon McClellan came off the bench to score 25 to lead the Longhorns, who host Texas Tech Saturday night, January 26th.

(Updated 10:22 pm)
M’Baye’s electrifying leaping ability led to at least three lob slams, including one from Sam Grooms on the break to give Oklahoma a 63-55 lead at 4:20. With Osby taking a breather, Texas threatened to close the gap before Hield’s strong left side baseline bucket gave Oklahoma an 11 pt lead with 3:05 to play.

Updated 10:14 pm
OU 59-52 6:43 remaining)
The Sooners finally hit a couple of threes, one each for Osby and freshman Jelon Hornbeak to keep the surging Longhorns at a distance. Texas’ biggest weapon is the sneaky scorer Sheldon McClellan, who leads them off the bench. He had 21 of his team’s first 52 points.

(Updated 10:07 pm)
Osby’s two free throws at 9:31 in game equals his career high at OU with 24 pts.

(Updated A 10:04 pm) As the Longhorns’ young big men wore down, Oklahoma’s most reliable scorer up front began to go to school. Senior Romero Osby set his sights on his career high of 24 points, scoring 22 in the first 28:00 to help OU push their lead to 12 at 50-38 with 11:14 to play.
(Updated 9:55 pm OU 45-36)
One of the most spectacular plays of the game came when the Sooners defense allowed them to run. Veteran floor leader Steven Pledger partially blocked a Longhorn attempt, ran with. The loose ball and found a soaring, streaking M’Baye for a slam that gave the Sooners their biggest lead at 9 pts.
(Updated at 9:50 pm with OU leading 38-34)
Texas defense limited the Sooners perimeter attempts. Averaging more than 15trey tries a game, OU was 0-3 in first 24 minutes. Their fewest three point attempts in a game this year came in a one point win at Oral Roberts (2 of 10).

(Updated at 9:40 start of second half)
Big stat from first half? Texas’ bench out scores OU’s 20-2 in the first half.

(First Half updated at 9:29 pm) Buddy Hield’s early lob to Amath M’Baye brought the “Cheer Like A Champion” t-shirt wearing crowd to their feet early, as Oklahoma (12-4, 3-1)built an early lead. But the game never got rolling until the Longhorns (8-9, 0-4) tried to muscle up on OU.

Neither team has enough size to say they can go “big”, but Texas tried with three freshmen wide bodies, 6-9 Cameron Ridley, 6-10 Prince Ibeh and 6-9 freshman Conner Lammert They overcame an 8-4 deficit with a 9-2 run to take a 13-10 lead midway through the first half.

What Texas is best at is denial. They led the NCAA in 3 pt fg% defense coming into the game and were second in overall fg% defense (.345), which works best when you don’t allow second shots, which they accomplished until the closing minutes of the half.

Once OU got into an offensive rhythm, they weren’t missing their first shots, thanks mainly to the inside work of leading scorer Romero Osby. He had 14 points at half on 5 of 8 shooting as the Sooners took a 30-26 lead to the break.

College baseball memories, now and then

Fortunately for baseball fans, college action is set to get underway. I can remember when I was at Georgia State calling games back in the early 1980s all those trips to Florida to play FSU (Jeff “I’mBetter” Ledbetter, where are you now?)

How about the time pitcher Robbie Waits was finally putting a number on the Seminoles? (FSU feasted on snowbirds in those days, racking up wins over teams that hadn’t been outside for a day… and doing it with remarkable arrogance.)  They were winning something like 4-1 in the fifth or sixth inning when, miraculously, the lights went out in the stadium. It took about a half hour for them to come back on, and once everybody got warmed up again, well… FSU rallied. It seemed like part of the plan, didn’t it? Regardless, GSU won quite a few games in those days. Some great players and memories.

Such is college baseball… I sure loved those days. I’ll be out at the ballpark in Norman keeping an eye on the Oklahoma Sooners this spring. You’ll find their preseason poll placement in the soonersports.com release below. Bring on the snowbirds.

NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma baseball team enters the 2013 campaign ranked No. 14 in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Fabulous 40 Pre-Season Poll announced Thursday.

The Sooners begin 2013 as the Big 12 Conference’s top-ranked squad. TCU enters at No. 15 while Texas is ranked at No. 21. Oklahoma will also face No. 1 Arkansas, No. 5 UCLA, No. 33 New Mexico, No. 39 Dallas Baptist and No. 40 Pepperdine in non-conference action in 2013.

The ranking marks the fifth straight season that OU appeared in a preseason poll.

The Sooners are seeking to make another run at the NCAA Men’s College World Series in 2013 under head coach Sunny Golloway’s watch. Oklahoma posted a 42-25 mark last season and reached its third Super Regional in program history. OU is looking to make its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 36th overall appearance. The Sooners have reached the CWS on 10 previous occasions, winning national championships in 1951 and 1994.

Oklahoma’s pitching staff is anchored by a pair of junior aces in southpaw Dillon Overton, a 2012 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention pick, and right-hander Jonathan Gray. Senior outfielder Max White, an All-Region Second Team pick by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2012, leads the offensive attack alongside senior infielder Jack Mayfield, an All-Big 12 Tournament Team and NCAA Charlottesville All-Regional Team selection last season.

Oklahoma begins the season with a four-game set against Hofstra Feb. 15-17 at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Sooners will host 31 games in 2013, highlighted by a non-conference matchup against Oklahoma State (April 2) as Oklahoma welcomes the Cowboys to Norman for only the third time in the last 17 years for the first of four Bedlam Series battles in 2013. OU will also serve as the host for the Bedlam Series conference matchups against OSU, with game one set for May 10 in Tulsa at ONEOK Field and the final two games of the series slated for May 11 and 12 at the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

Big 12 Conference home series at L. Dale Mitchell Park feature TCU (March 22-24), Kansas (March 28-30) and Texas Tech (April 26-28) while other non-conference home games feature Arkansas Pine Bluff (Feb. 19-20), Pepperdine (March 1-3), New Mexico State (March 12-13), Northwestern State (March 15-17), Oral Roberts (March 19-20), Arkansas Little Rock (April 16), New Orleans (April 19-21) and Dallas Baptist (May 14).

OU Volleyball’s McLaurin Named All-American

It was a fun season watching OU’s women’s volleyball squad earn an NCAA postseason bid. Congrats to Sallie McLaurin for her third team all-american nod.

The OU press releases posted below.

courtesy soonersports.com

courtesy soonersports.com

NORMAN, Okla. – University of Oklahoma junior Sallie McLaurin was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Third Team the organization announced Wednesday.

It is the second All-America recognition of McLaurin’s career, who was named to the honorable mention team in 2011.

McLaurin becomes the fourth Sooner to be selected to the All-American first, second or third in program history and under Oklahoma head coach Santiago-Restrepo, joining the likes of Joanna Schmitt (2006, second team), Elaine Santos (2006, third team) and Brianne Barker (2010 and 2011, third team).

At the conclusion of her junior campaign, McLaurin sat second overall in two separate categories in the Big 12: hitting percentage (.357) and blocks per set (1.37). The Midwest City, Okla., native also finished in the top-10 in two other categories: kills per set (9th, 2.83) and points per set (6th, 3.60).

She led the team in five separate categories: kills (328), kills per set (2.83), total blocks (159), blocks per set (1.37) and points per set (3.60)

McLaurin helped lead the Sooners to their program-record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, where they advanced to the second round.

For three-straight years Oklahoma has produced an AVCA All-American – a first for the program.

The selections were made by the AVCA Division I All-America Committee: Santiago Restrepo, Oklahoma; Sherry Dunbar, Indiana; Lisa Seifert, Southern Methodist; Molly Alvey, Cincinnati; Jennifer Greeny, Washington State; Craig Skinner, Kentucky; Jeff Nelson, New Mexico; Tonya Johnson, Georgia Tech.  The AVCA Awards Chair is Dayton head volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield.

Sooners Volleyball Advances in NCAAs

Sooners open postseason with big win over Sun Devils.
The OU press release follows.
PROVO, Utah – The University of Oklahoma volleyball team went to five-sets (3-2; 20-25, 25-19, 25-18, 19-25, 15-13) for the fourth time this season, and third time in its NCAA history in a heart-pounding match against Arizona State Friday night at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah, to advance to the NCAA Second Round tomorrow night.

“This was a big battle between a Pac 12 and Big 12 team,” remarked head coach Santiago Restrepo. “We happened to come through on the fifth set – our team fought like champions.

Oklahoma advances to the NCAA Second Round for the fourth time in seven years and fourth time under the helm of Restrepo after tonight’s victory.

“I thought Arizona State did a great job fighting throughout every point – every single point,” he continued. “Jason Watson has done a terrific job with that team and getting them to where they are today and into the NCAA Tournament; hats off to Arizona State.”

Four Sooners combined to hit double-digits, with senior outside hitter Morgan Reynolds leading the way with a career-best 21 kills on the night. Junior Sallie McLaurin, totaled 15, while sophomore Tara Dunn added 14 of her own. Freshman Kierra Holst added 10 to round out OU’s offensive efforts and total the seventh double-digit kill of her rookie year, and first since Oct. 10 against No. 21 Kansas.

“I couldn’t do this without this team. I couldn’t do it without Julia [Doyle], our passers and everything else,” explained Reynolds on her performance. “Everything kind of came together at the right time and it just worked well for me. Obviously, I give the credit to my team.”

Reynolds’ offensive output is the second-best performance for a Sooner in OU postseason history, joining forces with Mariana Blum and Patrice Arrington, who each knocked down 21 kills against Florida A&M in 2007, and Houston in 1997, respectively.

Along with their presence on the front line, both Reynolds and McLaurin broke an OU NCAA individual match record with six block assists a piece against Arizona State. It was the best defensive effort for the Sooners since 1999 in NCAA Tournament play.

Doyle also had a career performance with 51 assists – the first of her career – to ink the ninth 40-or-more assist match of her freshman campaign.

“She played today, the best she has played all season,” said Restrepo “She was consistent, and just did a great job.”

Doyle also added two assists and eight digs in the Sooners efforts.

Senior libero Maria Fernanda added 27 digs for the 10th 20-plus dig performance of her senior season. In a senior campaign that has seen Fernanda chase after the Big 12 career digs record, Fernanda closed just a little more. She now owns 2,190 digs throughout her four-year career, for the OU record, and looks to inch closer to Iowa State’s Ashley Mass who holds the conference record with 2,294.

The Sooners will face the winner of tonight’s No. 12 BYU/New Mexico State match tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live through NCAA.com, with live stats provided through GameTracker. The link will be made available later tonight.

Live streaming for tomorrow night’s match can also be found at byutvsports.com. Fans have to create a username and password, but there aren’t any fees. Fans can also watch the match on channel 9403 (Dish Network) or 374 (DIRECTV). For cable info, please visit: http://byutv.org/getBYUtv.

SOME NOTABLE NOTES:

- It was only the third five-set match for Oklahoma in NCAA history, who won each of its five-set matches in 2010 (vs. Tulsa) and in 1988 (vs. Nebraska) – each in the second round.
- Oklahoma advanced to the NCAA Second Round for the fourth time in seven years, and the fourth time under head coach Santiago Restrepo.
- The Sooners improve to 2-2 on the year in five-set matches with wins against Tulsa and Arizona State and losses to Northern Colorado and then-No. 21 Kansas.
- Tomorrow night’s match will mark the sixth time in program history that OU has advanced to the NCAA Second Round.
- OU’s lone seniors – Morgan Reynolds and Maria Fernanda – are the only players in program history to play in the NCAA each of their four years with the Sooners.
- Morgan Reynolds had the best offensive output of her career with 21 kills – the first time she has ever hit 20-or more in a single match.
- Reynolds 21 kills marked the best offensive performance for a Sooner in the NCAA Tournament since Mariana Blum knocked down 21 against Florida A&M in 2007 in the First Round.
- Julia Doyle totaled 50 assists for the first time of her career in the Crimson and Cream with 51 in the five-set victory over Arizona State. The performance also marked the ninth 40-plus assist match of her freshman campaign.
- Maria Fernanda totaled the 10th 20-plus dig performance of her senior season with 27 against the Sun Devils. It also marked the 45th 20-plus dig performance of her OU career.
- Both Reynolds and McLaurin broke an individual match record for OU in the NCAA Tournament with six block assists. Before tonight, Meredith Van Horn and Holly McMillan each totaled five block assists against Houston in 1997.

Head coach Santiago Restrepo:

On his team’s performance:
“I’m proud of this team, but the sooner we forget about this match, the better for our team. Yes, it was a great game, but the bottom line is that tomorrow is a different day, and it brings a different challenge to your team. I don’t want them to drop the memory of them having this great win under your belt, but we need to focus on tomorrow. Both teams present different matchups for us”

On the team’s offensive output:
“From the very beginning we had focused a lot on defense and blocking, and in the last three weeks of the season, we said forget about defense and blocking, let us concentrate on our offense. We weren’t generating enough points, so we talked to the team about generating between 15-18 kills per set. We got Arizona State offensively tonight, and that’s what helped.”

On Julia Doyle:
”She had a great hit in the fifth set that was key for us. She’s very gutsy. We’re happy to have her on our team. She played today, the best she has played all season. She was consistent. She just did a great job tonight.”

Senior libero Maria Fernanda:

On the match:
“I think overall it was just us coming together and battling through all the momentum throughout the match. I think in the fifth set we were down and we realized that we just have to come together, fight for each and every point and just come together to get the win. It was more a team effort than anything tonight.”

On making it to the NCAA Tournament all four years at OU:
“I think it’s more for the program, and that’s great. For the players coming in they see that we’re making history here for this program with so many appearances in the NCAA – I think it sets high expectations. I think it’s more for our team and for the history of Oklahoma volleyball.”

On tomorrow’s matchup:
“It’s the NCAA tournament, so you have to expect everything. Everyone is going for it and everyone is fighting for it. Obviously, if you win, you go onto the Sweet 16. We’re going to sleep, get some rest and get up in the morning and work.”

Senior outside hitter Morgan Reynolds

On the match:
“I think we talk about weathering the storm all the time and that was a perfect example. In tournament play, it can go either way, and teams fight their hearts out. Arizona State, just like us, fought until the very end. We just stuck with it and pulled through when it mattered.”

On her offensive performance:
“I couldn’t do this without this team. I couldn’t do it without Julia [Doyle], our passers and everything else. Everything kind of came together at the right time and it just worked well for me. Obviously, I give the credit to my team.”

On making it to the NCAA Tournament all four years at OU:
“I think it’s just building our program and earning the respect of other teams. I think we’re doing that by making consistent appearances in the NCAA multiple years in a row.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: THE PLAY-BY-PLAY

Both teams swapped points to begin the match with four different ties and two lead changes with just four points on the board for either team, but ASU quickly answered with seven-straight points to go up 11-4 and force an OU timeout. The Sooners finally put points on the board with four kills from four separate players – Holst, Dunn, McLaurin and Reynolds – to inch closer to the Sun Devils at 10-16. Despite a huge blocking effort that saw OU compile three total blocks in a span of eight points between both teams, ASU walked away with the first set victory, 25-20.

The second set played in favor of the Sooners in the opening minute, as the Sooners grabbed a 6-2 lead and forced a Sun Devil timeout to start. Oklahoma kept its momentum despite the break in play, with back-to-back kills from Dunn, and a key block from Reynolds and McLaurin to maintain the lead and continue to spread the gap at 13-7. ASU totaled three-straight points at the midway marker to cut the OU lead to three, 16-13, but the Sooners answered right back with three points of their own and hold another six-point advantage at 19-14. The second set finished just the way it started, with the Sooners in complete control. OU tied the match 1-1 before the break with a 25-19 performance in the second stanza.

Again, a back-and-forth battle started the third set, until a sequence of two Fernanda service aces sparked a 7-0 run for OU to take their first significant lead of the set, 12-5. ASU answered by adding points here-and-there, until it totaled three-straight kills to cut the lead to two, 14-12. The Sooners and Sun Devils continued light up the board for their respective team, as the Sooners led by no more than three points until they strung together a 5-0 run to take the 22-16 lead. Eventually OU put together three-straight points to take the set and 2-1 match lead, 25-18.

Arizona State started the fourth set with a 2-0 lead, but Oklahoma answered with a Reynolds kill and Dunn service ace to make it a tie-set early on, 2-2. Neither team gained control of the set until the Sun Devils strung together a 4-0 run to take the first significant lead by either team, 9-6, and force a Sooner timeout. OU returned from the break with two points, but ASU maintained their play and a steady lead. The Sun Devils put together a 6-0 run to reach the 20-point mark first (20-15) and secure the eventual fourth-set victory, 25-19.

The Sooners won the pivotal first point in the fifth and final set, and three-straight points to go up 5-2 before they forced a Sun Devil timeout. ASU returned from its break with three points of its own to tie the match up, 6-6. It was an Oklahoma service ace and ASU block that gave the Sun Devils the 8-7 lead before both teams switched courts. Both teams continued to trade points and tie-it up until ASU converted a 3-0 run – the longest of the final set – for an 11-9 lead. Two straight OU kills – courtesy of McLaurin and Reynolds, respectively – gave OU a 12-11 lead. With OU match point on the line, ASU notched a kill from Macey Gardner to stay in the game at 14-13, but it was Reynolds who secured her career-best performance with the match-winning kill to advance OU to the NCAA Second Round with a 15-13 fifth set score.