Woodward, Okla. — COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A lot of teams grow apart over a long season.
Oklahoma's drew closer.
Aaryn Ellenberg scored 27 points from the perimeter and Joanna McFarland handled things inside with 20 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Sooners past UCLA 85-72 on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament — earning them a trip back to their home state for the regional semifinals.
"These guys are so good together," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said. "Tonight was so fitting because the way they are with one another off the floor was the way they played on the floor — that connectedness, for lack of a better word."
Sixth-seeded Oklahoma (24-10) will face No. 2 seed Tennessee (26-7) — a 68-52 winner over Creighton — in Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Late in the game, Sooners boosters started chanting, "O-K-C! O-K-C!"
"It's very, very exciting to be going home," McFarland said. "We're 40 minutes away so hopefully we'll have a very big fan base."
Sharane Campbell added 19 points and Nicole Griffin had 10 for the Sooners, who never trailed after a 15-3 first-half spurt.
"Our guys are the kind that the more time they spend together, the better they get," Coale said. "Some teams are just the opposite: Don't lock 'em up in a hotel room for three or four days or everything will come unraveled. Not these guys."
Atonye Nyingifa had 18 points, Markel Walker 14, Jasmine Dixon 13 and Alyssia Brewer and Thea Lemberger 10 apiece for third-seeded UCLA (26-8), which fell to 11-12 in NCAA tournament play.
As Bruins coach Cori Close finished her postgame remarks, she crossed paths with Oklahoma's players and Coale.
"You guys did a heck of a job," she said. "You were the better team."