From Associated Press Reports
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., March 20, 2011 - Whitney Hand scored 24 points and the No. 6 Oklahoma blew much of a 19-point second-half lead before holding on to beat 11th-seeded James Madison 86-72 in the first round of the NCAA tournament Sunday at John Paul Jones Arena.
Danielle Robinson added 19 points for the Sooners (22-11), who are trying to make their third consecutive run to the Final Four. Oklahoma will play Miami in the second round Tuesday.
Dawn Evans, the nation's No. 3 scorer with a 23.2 average, led the Dukes with 20 points, and Tarik Hislop added 16 points, while Lauren Jimenez and Courtney Hamner tallied double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
James Madison (26-8) fell short in its bid for its first NCAA tournament victory since the 1991 team beat top-ranked Penn State in the second round in State College, Pa.
Aaryn Ellenberg added 17 points for Oklahoma and Joanna McFarland had 10 with 15 rebounds.
The Sooners led 41-28 at halftime and started the second half with a 12-6 burst.
Trailing by as many as 19, the Dukes got within 71-61 when Hamner made a steal and layup with 5:23 to play, but Ellenberg was fouled, made the first and McFarland grabbed the rebound for the Sooners. Hand then scored and had a chance for a three-point play, but missed and again McFarland came away with the rebound. Robinson's shot was off the mark.
Jimenez hit a 3-pointer for JMU with 4:13 to go, making it 74-64, and after another miss by the Sooners, Ellenberg fouled Evans with 3:32 remaining. She made the second fouls hot, and when Jalissa Taylor blocked Ellenberg at the other end, Evans was fouled making a left-handed layup.
Her free throw to finish the three-point play pulled the Dukes to 74-68 with 2:56 to go.
A turnover by Robinson gave the Dukes a chance to get closer, but Evans' 3-pointer missed, and Robinson scored at the other end. Her three-point play with 1:43 left sealed it.
The game marked the end of Evans' remarkable college career. She's played most of the last two seasons with a rare kidney disease, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which likely will cause her to require a kidney transplant in the future, and still became the career scoring leader in the Colonial Athletic Association while leading the Dukes to back to back titles.