Oklahoma pulls away from Michigan
Ellenberg's 28 points leads Sooners by Wolverines in first round
NORMAN, Okla. -- Aaryn Ellenberg scored 21 of her 28 points in the second half, Whitney Hand added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Oklahoma defeated Michigan 88-67 Sunday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Playing on their home court, the Sooners (21-12) took control with an early 14-4 run and never trailed.
Oklahoma led by 12 in the first eight minutes. The advantage grew to 19 as Ellenberg came out hot in the second half and Oklahoma held the Wolverines without a basket for the first 5 1/2 minutes.
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Michigan (20-12), making its first tournament appearance in 11 years, got as close as eight with a flurry of 3-pointers by Carmen Reynolds before the Sooners closed it out.
Reynolds finished with 20 points to lead the Wolverines. Michigan's leading scorer, Rachel Sheffer, had only three points in a season-low 14 minutes.
Ellenberg scored 13 of Oklahoma's first 14 points in the second half, including a jumper off an inbounds pass that extended the lead to 57-38 with 14:33 remaining.
Sam Arnold answered with a 3-pointer and Reynolds hit 3 during the Wolverines' comeback bid, the last one pulling Michigan to 66-58.
Ellenberg added two more 3-pointers down the stretch as Oklahoma rebuilt its lead and then closed it out by scoring the final eight points.
The sixth-seeded Sooners are 8-1 in the NCAA tournament when playing on their home court, with the lone loss coming the only time they were the lower-seeded team. They'll need to buck that trend Tuesday night when they face No. 3 seed St. John's for a chance to continue on in the Fresno Regional.
Oklahoma was able to find quick offense to counter the Wolverines' Big Ten-best defense, which had been giving up only 58 points and forcing 17 turnovers per game. The Sooners surpassed the 58-point mark with more than 13 minutes remaining and matched their season low with eight turnovers in the game.
Morgan Hook added 13 points, and Kaylon Williams and Nicole Griffin scored 10 apiece for Oklahoma.
Kate Thompson had 15 points and Courtney Boylan scored 12 for Michigan.