The Norman Transcript


December 11, 2010

Sooners drop consecutive sets in Sweet 16 match

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Blair Brown’s mighty right arm pushed three-time defending champion Penn State a step closer to another trip to the NCAA national semifinals.

The 6-foot-5 senior had 24 kills and the fourth-seeded Nittany Lions swept Oklahoma 25-23, 25-23, 25-15 on Friday night to extend their record home winning streak to 93 matches.

Penn State advances to face Duke in Saturday night’s regional final, with the winner getting a trip to next weekend’s final four in Kansas City.

“You want me to read the stats?” Oklahoma coach Santiago Restrepo responded when asked if Brown was the difference. “Twenty-four kills. I would say so. ... She’s an All-American for a reason.”

Oklahoma (23-11) stayed close much of the night, especially during a sloppy first set for Penn State that included six attack errors by the Nittany Lions. Sallie McLaurin led the Sooners with 11 kills.

Penn State’s imposing frontline led by Brown proved too much down the stretch in front of the Nittany Lions’ rowdy student section. The loud, loyal tournament following can turn 5,800-seat Rec Hall into a stuffy, hostile arena for opponents.

Alyssa D’Errico had 15 digs for Penn State, seeking a fourth straight national title.

“Obviously, Penn State is a great team. They have phenomenal size,” Duke coach Jolene Nagel said after the Blue Devils beat Missouri in four sets earlier Friday.

In other brackets Friday night, Purdue upset top seed Florida in three sets in a regional semifinal in Austin, Texas, and No. 3 Stanford defeated Ohio State in four sets in Dayton, Ohio. No. 2 Nebraska was scheduled to face Washington later Friday night in Seattle.

None of the top seeds had as favorable early draw as Penn State, placed in a bracket that had it playing at home the first two weekends of the tourney. The Nittany Lions haven’t lost in cozy Rec Hall since falling to Tennessee in an NCAA regional match in 2005.

Nearly every dig, set and spike is accompanied by some kind of chant from the student section — usually shouting out the letters “P-S-U.”

“It’s now or never, we have to have energy when we walk into the gym, to have all these people there supporting us,” Brown said. “The energy has got to be there.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • _Y_R3186 Sooners succumb to Longhorns in run-rule shutout

    Oklahoma had its chances. The Sooners put eight runners on base Friday night against Texas, several times with no outs. And stranded every one of them....

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • OU draws even in rout of West Virginia

    As Oklahoma’s players jogged back to the dugout following the top of the first inning against West Virginia, no one appeared overly excited. It was the classic case of masking the emotions....

    April 19, 2014

  • North’s Barrett on track for great stuff

    It was after the guy working the PA at John Jacobs Field Friday afternoon understood The Norman Transcript was in the house when he began singing the praises of Norman North’s Ben Barrett....

    April 19, 2014

  • Pistons Thunder Basketball Thunder set to take on unlikely rival in Memphis

    It’s become an unlikely rivalry. There is no reason for Oklahoma City and Memphis to have an ongoing feud, except that they do and the numbers seem to bear it out....

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooners advance to Super Six

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Oklahoma, Georgia and LSU advanced to the Super Six of the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships....

    April 19, 2014

  • Woodard powers through

    For most of Friday afternoon, Norman North’s Haley Woodard, the day after notching a goal and an assist against Edmond Santa Fe, was lying down and feeling  sick under the North track and field team’s canopy at John Jacobs Field....

    April 19, 2014

  • Can the Heat flip the switch?

    MIAMI — LeBron James was walking down the hallway that the Miami Heat call “Championship Alley” a few minutes after last season’s NBA Finals, when he decided the time was right to send a message. It wasn’t for his fans....

    April 19, 2014

  • No April, May or June Madness in NBA

    AP National Writer ATLANTA — If the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks were in any other sport, they might have a glimmer of hope for winning a championship. The NBA? No way....

    April 19, 2014

  • Warriors and Clippers take mutual dislike into playoff series

    LOS ANGELES — As much as the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors don’t like each other, they’re a lot alike in some ways....

    April 19, 2014

  • OU V Texas Casey sparks Sooners at the plate against Longhorns

    Oklahoma put runners in scoring position all night, but midway through Thursday’s series opener against Texas, the Sooners couldn’t do much with them. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, they had stranded a handful of runners, including ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo