With Southeast Missouri focusing their attention on stopping Courtney Paris, Jenna Plumley and Leah Rush stepped up yet again.
Plumley, the tiny 5-foot-4 freshman scored 20 points, including two clutch 3-pointers late in the second half, and Rush added a season-high 19 as third-seeded Oklahoma overcame an 8-point first-half deficit and eventually pulled away for a 74-60 first round win.
Southeast Missouri jumped on Oklahoma early building a 22-14 lead at the 10:43 mark of the first half, but the Sooners used a 12-1 run, which began and ended with 3-pointers by Plumley, to take a 26-23 lead with 6:39 to go in the half.
The Sooners, who led 37-34 at halftime, used a 12-4 run over the first five minutes of the second half to extend the lead to 48-38. But that's as big as the lead would get as the pesky Redhawks kept it close until the final minutes.
Southeast Missouri cut the lead to 60-55 with 5:48 to go, but back-to-back buckets by Paris pushed the lead back to nine. The Redhawks quickly responded hitting a 3-pointer to make it 64-58, but Plumley answered with a 3-pointer from the corner to push the lead back to 67-58. Then, after Southeast Missouri added another quick bucket on their next possession, Plumley buried another 3-pointer to extend the lead to 70-60 with 3:03 to go.
As for Paris, the 6-foot-4 sophomore stretched her double-double streak to 59-straight games with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn't easy. She recorded just three points and three rebounds in the first half, but bounced back in the final 20 minutes with nine points and eight rebounds.
In fact, she didn't have her double-double until she pulled down her 10th board with 45 seconds to go in the game. Her 13 points was a season-low, and it was also just the fourth time this season she hasn't led the team in scoring.
For the game, the Sooners shot 57 percent from the field while holding Southeast Missouri to just 34 percent shooting. OU was 10-for-17 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Redhawks 30-26.
They also held Southeast Missouri center Lachelle Lyles, who came into the game as the nation's leading rebounder averging just over 17 a game, to 10 rebounds.
Oklahoma (27-4) will play sixth-seeded Marquette (26-6) Monday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. The Golden Eagles advanced to the second round with an 87-58 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Box Score | Notes | Quotes
Plumley shoots Sooners into second round
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