Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Sports >  NCAA basketball

Liberty graduate Maisie Burnham, Portland Pilots exit with first-round loss to Oklahoma

March 18, 2023 Updated Sat., March 18, 2023 at 9:56 p.m.

Lucy Cochrane (right) drives against teammate Alex Fowler during Portland’s 90-minute practice Friday at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. The Pilots play Oklahoma at 6 p.m. Saturday in an NCAA Tournament first round game.  (Tribune News Service)
Lucy Cochrane (right) drives against teammate Alex Fowler during Portland’s 90-minute practice Friday at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. The Pilots play Oklahoma at 6 p.m. Saturday in an NCAA Tournament first round game. (Tribune News Service)
From wire reports

From wire reports

Portland’s first appearance since 1997 in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament became a weekend stay.

Oklahoma had too many offensive weapons, pulling away in the second half for a 85-63 win over the 12th-seeded Pilots in a first-round game Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

The Sooners, Big 12 regular season co-champions and a No. 5 seed, never trailed. Oklahoma (26-6) put the hammer down in the third quarter, blowing open a close game by outscoring Portland 24-13.

The Pilots (23-9) fell to 0-5 in NCAA Tournament games. Portland dropped first-round games from 1994-97.

Oklahoma advances to the second round where it will play the UCLA-Sacramento State winner on Monday in Pauley Pavilion.

Oklahoma clobbered Portland on the glass, out-rebounding the Pilots 47-31. The Sooners pulled down 20 offensive rebounds, allowing Oklahoma to produce 24 second-chance points.

Portland, the West Coast Conference tournament champions, simply didn’t do enough of anything to throw a scare into Oklahoma. The Pilots went 3 of 19 from 3-point range and shot 38% (23 of 61) overall. Though Portland forced 16 turnovers, it was unable to convert many into points.

Liberty High School graduate Maisie Burnham – the Pilots’ second-leading scorer – was held to eight points on 2-of-12 shooting from the field. Burnham added five rebounds and three assists.

The Sooners had five players score in double figures, led by Aubrey Joens and Taylor Robertson with 14 points each.

Alex Fowler scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Portland. Emme Shearer and Lucy Cochrane scored 12 points each for the Pilots.

Oklahoma led 39-34 at halftime following a first half where the Pilots never led. The Sooners’ effective half-court offense was tough to defend at times. They showed range on 3-pointers, hitting five, and repeatedly got the ball inside to Madi Williams, who scored 13 first-half points.

Trailing 17-9, Fowler triggered a run that she started with two free throws and a tip-in. Portland pulled to within 22-21 on a pair of Lucy Cochrane free throws. Oklahoma led 27-21 after one.

With Williams scoring the first six points of the second quarter, the Sooners built their largest lead at 33-23. Portland held Oklahoma to a pair of three-pointers during the final 7:48 as the Pilots cut the deficit in half by halftime.

Oklahoma continued to have trouble scoring early in the third, but the Pilots were unable to inch closer. Finally, fueled by a technical foul on UP coach Michael Meek, Oklahoma caught fire. The Sooners went on a 13-5 run to build a 12-point midway through the third.

Portland struggled to respond. The Pilots began to score, but Joens countered with a pair of three-point plays. The Sooners finished the quarter with a three-point play by Liz Scott to take a 63-47 lead.

The Pilots were unable to get closer than 16 points the rest of the game.

Women’s No. 1 seeds prove hard to beat

Indiana’s rout of Tennessee Tech put all four No. 1s in the women’s NCAA Tournament into the second round and perhaps highlighted a reality that has shifted in recent years:

Although a 16-over-1 March Madness upset is exceedingly rare, it’s probably even harder to pull off in the women’s tournament right now than in the men’s.

One night after the Fairleigh Dickinson men delivered the stunner of these festivities over No. 1 seed Purdue, the Indiana women romped past Tennessee Tech by 30 points, 77-47, joining fellow No. 1s South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Stanford in the second round. All four of those teams, playing with home-court advantage, won with ease to start their tournament run, with Virginia Tech winning by the tightest margin at 25 points over Chattanooga.

On Saturday, the Hoosiers pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring Tennessee Tech 21-9 in the period, and shot a breezy 58% for the game as their lead grew and grew. Sydney Parrish led with 19 points.

The men’s tournament had gone without a No. 16 defeating a No. 1 before 2018, but it has now happened twice in the past five tournaments. A similar upset has only occurred once in the women’s tournament since it expanded to 64 teams, when No. 16 seed Harvard beat top-seeded Stanford in 1998.

In that game, Harvard came in feeling like it deserved a higher seed, while Stanford lost two key players, Vanessa Nygaard and Kristin Folkl, to severe knee injuries in the week leading up to the game.

To beat a No. 1 women’s team playing at home, or even a No. 2 – which has never lost to a No. 15 – it may take a similar series of circumstances.

Saturday’s results

Seattle Regional 3

(4) Villanova 76, (13) Cleveland State 59

(3) Ohio State 80, (14) James Madison 66

(5) Oklahoma 85, (12) Portland 63

(12) Toledo 80, (5) Iowa State 73

(4) Tennessee 95, (13) Saint Louis 50

(6) North Carolina 61, (11) St. John’s 59

(7) Baylor 78, (10) Alabama 74

Seattle Regional 4

(3) Duke 89, (14) Iona 49

(6) Colorado 82, (11) Middle Tennessee 60

(5) Louisville 83, (12) Drake 81

(4) Texas 79, (13) East Carolina 40

Greenville Regional 1

(4) UCLA vs. (12) Sacramento State, late

Greenville Regional 2

(12) Florida Gulf Coast 74, (5) Washington State 63

(1) Indiana 77, (16) Tennessee Tech 47

(9) Miami 62, (8) Oklahoma State 61

Sunday’s games

Greenville Regional 1

(1) South Carolina vs. (8) South Florida, 10 a.m.

(3) Notre Dame vs. (11) Mississippi State, 12:30 p.m.

(2) Maryland vs. (7) Arizona, 2:30 p.m.

Greenville Regional 2

(2) Utah vs. (10) Princeton, 4 p.m.

(3) LSU vs. (6) Michigan, 4:30 p.m.

Seattle Regional 3

(1) Virginia Tech vs. (9) South Dakota State, 2 p.m.

Seattle Regional 4

(2) Iowa vs. (10) Georgia, noon

(1) Stanford vs. (8) Mississippi, 6:30 p.m.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.