NCAA women’s basketball notebook

AUSTIN, Texas – After the Golden Eagles' 87-58 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday, Marquette President the Rev. Robert A. Wild strode over to thank the "Marquette" band and its conductor.

"I think you guys were amazing," said Wild, who showed his school pride by placing a yellow pom-pom in one of pant pockets.

Wild was not talking about the band's musical talent, but its mere presence.

Marquette was not able to field a band at both the men's and women's games in the NCAA tournament because of spring break. The real Marquette pep band went to Winston-Salem, N.C., to play at the men's game.

Wednesday night Jay Drury, the marching band director at West Virginia, received a call asking if his students could fill in at the Marquette game. West Virginia was scheduled to play Xavier later in the day in another NCAA tournament first round game.

"We normally don't do these kind of things," Drury said. "But the Big East commissioner (Mike Tranghese) is trying to further relations between the schools. Once the conference season is over we should all root for each other."

Before the Marquette game, West Virginia's pep band slipped into yellow Marquette T-shirts and practiced the school's fight song outside Entrance D to the Frank Erwin Center.

"We learned the fight song outside and ran through it twice," Drury said. "We had sight read the alma mater."

Even thought they were playing the songs for the first time, it still was sweet music to Wild's ears.

Oklahoma advances, Marquette up next

Before the second half between third-seeded Oklahoma and 14th-seeded Southeast Missouri State started, the Oklahoma pep band struck up the Stevie Wonder hit "Uptight (Everything's Alright)." It seemed to capture the mood perfectly.

Oklahoma had just played a very good 20 minutes of basketball — the Sooners made 7-of-9 three-point attempts and shot 54.2 percent from the floor — yet they trailed for long stretches during the first half.

But there was nothing to worry about in the second half. The Sooners never trailed in the final 20 minutes and defeated the Redhawks 74-60. Oklahoma will play Marquette in the second round of the NCAA tournament Monday.

Oklahoma star Courtney Paris had a quiet night (13 points and 11 rebounds), but her presence created plenty of chances for her teammates.

"I don't think they really meant to leave me open," said guard Jenna Plumley, who had a team-high 20 points. "It was just the fact that they were so focused on Courtney, once the ball got down and they doubled-down I just had to watch my defender and watch her head. Once she turned, I had to find an open space where Courtney could see me."

Plumley found a lot of open spaces. The 5-foot-4 freshman was 6-of-10 from behind the arc.

Jones struggles

During the regular season Yolanda Jones was the key to Louisiana-Lafayette's success. She was named First Team All-Sun Belt conference and had 20 double-doubles on the season. She fouled out against Marquette before she could pick up her 21st.

Jones finished with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and three rebounds.

She picked up her fourth foul with 2:34 to play in the first half and fouled out with 10:48 to go in the second.

"I felt like because we were shooting the ball so poorly that the only chance we had was to not get buried before the half and that's why we pushed the envelope," said J. Kelley Hall when asked why he left Jones in.