Sunday, March 25, 2001

Washington 84, Oklahoma 67

AP Sports Writer

        SPOKANE, Wash. — So much for the top seeds in the West.

        Washington, cheered on by a capacity crowd at the Spokane Arena, eliminated No. 2 seed Oklahoma 84-67 Saturday night to advance to the semifinals of the West regional.

        The sixth-seeded Huskies, who defeated No. 3 seed Florida in Gainesville to make it to Spokane, play fifth-seeded Southwest Missouri State on Monday night for a berth in the Final Four.

        Southwest Missouri State upset top-seeded Duke in the other semifinal 81-71 behind 41 points by Jackie Stiles.

        Megan Franza warmed up after an icy start to score 17 for Washington (22-9). She missed her first five 3-pointers, then made three of four, two in a 23-second span, as the Huskies pulled away midway through the second half.

        Freshman Andrea Lalum scored 18 for Washington. Loree Payne added 17 and freshman Giuliana Mendiola 15.

        Oklahoma (28-6) shot just 35 percent from the field (25-of-72).

        In what was supposed to be a 3-point shootout, the Sooners were just 6-for-26 from long range. Washington was 8-for-24.

        All-America Stacey Dales was just 6-of-14 shooting and scored 13. LauNeisha Caufield, who like Dales averages 16.1 points per game, was 0-for-11 from the field and scored six.

        Caton Hill kept the Sooners in it most of the game with 23 points and 12 rebounds. She scored 18 in the second half as Oklahoma rallied to take a 49-48 lead on Sunny Hardeman's 3-pointer with 12:52 to play.

        But Lalum followed with one of her three 3-pointers — in four attempts — to put the Huskies ahead for good 51-49 with 12:48 remaining. Franza's 3-pointer capped a 10-2 run that gave the Huskies a 58-51 lead 11:03 from the finish.

        Hill's two free throws cut it to 60-57 with 7:58 to go, but Franza made two 3s, the second with 7:16 to play, put Washington up 66-57.

        The Huskies, in a regional final for the first time since 1990, sealed it by making 11 of 12 free throws in the final 1:53. Washington has never played in the Final Four.

        The game got off to an ugly start. Oklahoma, which averages 82 points, scored just 17 in the first 16:12.

        Payne's rebound basket put Washington ahead 25-17 with 4:32 left in the half. Then both teams warmed up and the Huskies led 38-33 at the break.

        The Sooners made just three of their first 15 shots and trailed 17-10 after Mendiola scored for Washington with 9:23 to go in the half.

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