Oklahoma Sooners survive Florida Gulf Coast upset bid to advance in NCAA Tournament

In their opening-round matchup, the Oklahoma Sooners were put to the test by No. 12 seed and ASun champion Florida Gulf Coast.

Oklahoma fell behind in the first quarter by as much as 12 points and were down 10 after the first 10 minutes. But Jennie Baranczyk’s squad responded with a big second quarter to trail by just two at halftime.

The Sooners shot it well in the first, but Florida Gulf Coast forced them into four turnovers, and the Eagles earned four offensive rebounds to keep the pressure on the No. 5 seed Oklahoma.

In the second quarter, the Sooners turned up the defensive pressure, holding the Eagles to just 26.7% shooting after they shot 47% in the first quarter. That defensive effort allowed Oklahoma to cut into the deficit.

Oklahoma’s dynamic forward duo Skylar Vann and Sahara Williams led the way with 10 points apiece.

The second half featured a back-and-forth affair with each team taking leads throughout the final 20 minutes.

Battling an injury, Vann continued her dynamic NCAA Tournament performance with 14 second-half points, including six fourth-quarter points and a free throw that gave OU a three-point lead in the final seconds of the game. Payton Verhulst came up clutch with seven of her 11 points in the fourth, including what turned out to be the game-winner with under a minute to play.

For the game, Vann scored 24 points on 9 of 18 shooting to lead the way for the Sooners who had just three players in double figures in the win.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Emani Jefferson had a fantastic game, with 22 points and 12 rebounds to give the Sooners fits.

For the game, Oklahoma held Florida Gulf Coast to just 37% shooting and the Sooners only led for a total of 7:57 of game time.

The Sooners survived and now will take on the host Indiana Hoosiers in the round of 32 on Monday. Gametime is currently to be determined.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire