DAYTON, Ohio — The Oklahoma women — maybe the only ones who thought they’d be leaving for the Sweet 16 — left for the Sweet 16 on Thursday.
Receivers of a sendoff from fans and well-wishers oustide Lloyd Noble Center, the Sooners made their way to the Rust Belt, one day before meeting with the media with the remaining three combatants of the NCAA tournament’s Dayton Regional: Tennessee, Ohio State and Notre Dame.
At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, the Sooners (23-11) meet Notre Dame (28-7). That game will follow the opener at University of Dayton Arena, Tennessee (33-2) and Ohio State (24-9), which tips off at 11 a.m.
Oklahoma, the No. 6 seed in the Dayton Regional, beat James Madison 86-72 and Miami 88-83 in Charlottesville, Va., to reach the regional semifinal round.
Tennessee is the region’s top seed. Notre Dame is the No. 2 seed. Ohio State, which beat OU 95-84 on Dec. 5 in Columbus, is the No. 5 seed.
“I think it was (former North Carolina men’s coach) Dean Smith who said, ‘You don’t take momentum into the NCAA tournament; you build it when you get there,” OU coach Sherri Coale said between wins in Charlottesville.
On Wednesday, the Sooners rode that momentum into a new city.