NCAA Women's Basketball: Oklahoma 61, Purdue 45
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Peyton Little scored 20 points, Maddie Manning added 12 and No. 6 seed Oklahoma blocked 13 shots to shut down 11th-seeded Purdue 61-45 for a first-round NCAA Tournament victory on Saturday.
The Sooners' double-digit block total set a school record for the NCAA Tournament and was their highest since rejecting 10 against Baylor on Feb. 21, 2009; they fell just two short of matching their 15 blocks against Texas on March 7, 2007. Vionise Pierre-Louis' career-high seven blocks led the way for Oklahoma, while Kaylon Williams (eight points) and Manning had three each.
But shot-blocking was just one highlight of an Oklahoma defensive effort that also held Purdue to just 28 percent shooting.
The Sooners (22-10) were better from the field at 43 percent but improved to 4-0 all-time against the Boilermakers (20-12). Little set the offensive tone by making 7 of 12 from the field including four 3-pointers range, while Manning made 5 of 11 with a 3.
April Wilson had nine points and Ashley Morrissette eight for the Boilermakers, who lost their first opening-round tournament game since 1996. Purdue's lone bright spot was matching the Sooners with 39 rebounds.
Both squads entered with similar strengths in perimeter shooting, rebounding and defense, but Oklahoma's effectiveness in those areas helped the Sooners earn their third NCAA Tournament win over the Boilermakers in the series.
The Sooners succeeded quickly in throwing off Purdue's rhythm but disrupting its passing and shooting, a strategy from which the Boilermakers never recovered after a 6-all tie. Shots didn't fall even when they had good looks and Oklahoma was ready at other times to swat seven attempts in the first half alone.
Purdue started 1 of 7 from the field and was just 6 of 33 through two quarters, a struggle that allowed Oklahoma to bultlead by as many as 16 before taking a 28-15 edge into the break. Better shooting (46 percent) certainly helped the Sooners, whose offense seemed to take off after Peyton Little's first 3-pointer keyed an 11-4 first-quarter run that put them ahead to stay.
Little emerged from the break even sharper, hitting consecutive 3s during a 15-6 third-quarter run for a 43-21 that forced Purdue to call timeout with 6:19 remaining.
Purdue didn't get closer than 17 despite a 7-2 third-quarter run as Oklahoma remained strong on both ends of the floor. The Sooners ended up making nearly 38 percent from long range against a Purdue team that led the Big Ten Conference in 3-point defense at 28.5 percent.