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Sooners swat Yellow Jackets

BY MIKE BROWNLEE | MARCH 25, 2009 7:30 AM

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Oklahoma let Georgia Tech hang around in the first half, then put the Yellow Jackets away in the second.

Danielle Robinson was perfect for the Sooners as the No. 1 seed in the Oklahoma City regional beat No. 9 seed Georgia Tech 69-50 Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Robinson went 5-for-5 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free throw line for Oklahoma (30-4), which will advance to take on No. 4 seed Pittsburgh in the Sweet 16 in Oklahoma City on March 29.

The sophomore scored a game-high 17 points, and with a number of deep passes ahead of the Georgia Tech (22-10) defense to teammates cutting to the basket, she finished with seven assists as well.

“It was all about being aggressive and just being confident,” she said. “We all have that offensive swagger; it was just a matter of knocking down shots.”

Robinson was all over the court, getting into passing lanes, playing solid defense on Georgia Tech’s guards and often breaking the Yellow Jacket press by herself.

“Danielle’s change of speed was the answer to the press,” Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale said. “There were two to three times she turned it over because she was going 10,000 miles per hour, and she corrected that. She single-handedly just ripped [the press] apart and was unflappable.”

Oklahoma squandered a 10-point first-half lead, and the game was knotted at 29-29 going into the break.

“Irritation,” is how Coale described her mood at halftime.

The Sooners must have gotten the message, as they came out of the locker room and went on a 17-5 run, pulling the lead to double-digits, which they maintained for the remainder of the game.

“What we discussed at halftime was adhering to the game plan. We had to rebound better and we had to limit their attempts in the paint,” Coale said. “The focus was back in the second half. The shots came and the defense came, and we were able to distance ourselves.”

Robinson got the run started with a steal and uncontested lay-up, followed by a 3-pointer from Whitney Hand.

“I feel like we got back on our heels, and they delivered a punch,” Georgia Tech forward Iasia Hemingway said. “And we didn’t punch back.”

Hand, a freshman, finished with 15 points, including scoring the Sooners’ first eight points.
All-American center Courtney Paris was in foul trouble for long stretches of the game for Oklahoma, and she finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, falling short of career double-double No. 127.

Twin sister Ashley Paris grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, along with scoring eight points.

Georgia Tech was led by sophomore guard Deja Foster, who finished with 15 points. Junior forwards Brigitte Ardossi and Hemingway had 11 and 10 points.

The Yellow Jackets went 5-for-29 from the field in the second half and 1-for-13 on the game from behind the arc. Georgia Tech only put up three 3-pointers in Sunday’s win over Iowa.

“I think we took a lot of outside shots in a rush,” Yellow Jacket senior point guard Jacqua Williams said. “We should’ve got the ball inside a little more. [The outside shots] just weren’t falling.”
The first half started out just like the second, with the Sooners going on a 21-7 run over the first 8:30.

Georgia Tech chipped away at the deficit, and a pair of Sasha Goodlet free throws with 32 seconds left in the frame completed the comeback, giving the Yellow Jackets their first and only lead of the game at 29-28, before a Robinson free throw tied it up before the half.


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