The St. John's Red Storm held off a late charge from the Oklahoma Sooners to hang on for a 74-70 win and advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2012 NCAA Women's Tournament. They led by seven points midway through the second half thanks to a 10-1 run. The Sooners pulled back within one point at 64-63 on a Sharane Campbell shot with 5:20 to go in the game. They wouldn't get any closer, however, as the Red Storm amped up its defense and slowly pulled away.
St. John's scored 21 points off of 19 forced turnovers to make up for a shaky 41.5 percent shooting performance from the floor. Four players reached double-digit point totals, led by Eugenia McPherson's 21 on 6-for-14 shooting, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
The Sooners held a significant rebounding advantage (34-25). They were led offensively and defensively by Whitney Hand's 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Aaryn Ellenberg struggled for most of the game, picking up just eight points and turning the ball over five times. She went 0-for-4 from behind the arc, including a missed 3-pointer from the top of the key with 37 seconds left that would have tied the game.
With the win, the No. 3 seed Red Storm will face the No. 2 seed Duke Blue Devils in the regional semifinals Saturday in what should be one of the better matchups of the tournament so far.