The Portland Pilots’ first appearance in an NCAA women’s basketball tournament in 26 years ended in an 85-63 loss to Oklahoma

Portland’s first appearance since 1997 at the NCAA women’s basketball tournament turned into a weekend stopover.

Oklahoma had too many offensive weapons and retired in the second half for an 85-63 win over the 12-seeded Pilots in a first-round game Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion.

The Sooners, Big 12 regular-season co-champions and No. 5 seed, never fell behind. Oklahoma (26-6) put down the hammer in the third quarter and opened up a tight game by beating Portland 24-13.

The Pilots (23-9) fell to 0-5 in NCAA tournament games. Portland dropped first-round games from 1994 to 1997.

Oklahoma advances to the second round where it will face the winner of UCLA-Sacramento State on Monday at the Pauley Pavilion.

Oklahoma beat Portland to the glass, passing the Pilots 47-31. The Sooners hit 20 offensive rebounds, giving Oklahoma 24 second-chance points.

West Coast Conference tournament winner Portland just didn’t do enough to scare Oklahoma. Pilots went out of three-point range 3 of 19 and shot 38% overall (23 of 61). Although Portland forced 16 turnovers, they failed to convert many into points.

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

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

Oklahoma led 39-34 at halftime after a first half in which the Pilots never led. The Sooners’ effective offense was difficult to defend at times. They showed coverage on threes, hit fives and repeatedly brought the ball to Madi Williams, who scored 13 points in the first half.

Trailing 17-9, Fowler started a run that she began with two free throws and a tip-in. Portland drew 22-21 on two free throws from Lucy Cochrane. 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 against a pair of threes during the final 7:48 as the Pilots halved the deficit at halftime.

Oklahoma continued to struggle to score early in the third goal, but the Pilots couldn’t get any closer. Eventually, Oklahoma, fueled by a technical foul on UP coach Michael Meek, caught fire. The Sooners went on a 13-5 run to build a 12-point run midway through the third.

Portland struggled to respond. The Pilots started to score, but Joens countered with two three-point plays. The Sooners ended the quarter with a three-point play from Liz Scott to take a 63-47 lead.

The pilots couldn’t get closer than 16 points for the rest of the game.

Nick Daschel reported from Los Angeles; Check back to learn more about this story

– Nick Daschel | | @nickdaschel


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