WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Phylesha Whaley poured in 33 points and Caton Hill hit four clutch free throws as fifth seed Oklahoma topped No. 12 Brigham Young, 86-81, in a first-round East Region contest.
Whaley shot 12-of-20 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the line for the Sooners (24-7), who will face Purdue on Monday in the second round.
The Cougars trailed by 12 points in the second half but closed the gap to 79-78 when Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Erin Thorn nailed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left.
But Whaley, who averages 20.6 points per contest, drilled a shot with 25 seconds left to put the Sooners ahead by three. Hill came up with a steal on the next possession and hit the last of her free throws with 10 seconds left for an 85-78 lead.
Oklahoma, the co-regular season Big 12 Conference champs, shot a torrid 65 percent (17-of-26) in the second half and 54 percent (31-of-57) overall for its first NCAA Tournament victory since 1995.
LaNeishea Caufield scored 26 points and Stacey Dales dished out 12 assists for Oklahoma. Hill grabbed 11 rebounds and was 5-of-6 from the line for her only points.
In its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1993, BYU tried to keep pace, shooting 50 percent (15-of-30) in the second half and 43 percent (26-of-60) overall. Cady Williams poured in 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting and Thorn and Jennifer Leitner added 17 points apiece for the Cougars.