– The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Oklahoma withstood early adversity, composed itself and took control with balance, hustle and grit.

In a game that mirrored their season, the Sooners pulled through. Now they’re going back to the Final Four.

Nyeshia Stevenson scored 31 points and Oklahoma blew past fourth-seeded Kentucky 88-68 on Tuesday night to earn its second straight trip to the Final Four.

Amanda Thompson added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the third-seeded Sooners (27-10), who’ll face Stanford on Sunday in San Antonio.

The Wildcats stormed out to a 17-4 lead, only to watch as the Sooners rallied to go ahead 43-39 by halftime. Oklahoma opened the second half on a 15-5 run, then scored 11 straight points to jump ahead 69-50 with 6:30 left.

Victoria Dunlap had 31 points and 12 rebounds to lead Kentucky (28-8), which was seeking its first trip to the Final Four. The Wildcats stunned top-seeded Nebraska to reach their first regional final since 1982, but they couldn’t complete the Big 12 sweep in Kansas City.

“Well I don’t know what that was for the first five minutes; these kids have fought back all year. It’s sort of their identity,” Oklahoma Coach Sherri Coale said. “Their confidence was unwavering. I give them credit for keeping their head and getting out of it.”

The Sooners will be joined by Baylor in San Antonio, marking the first-ever Final Four with two Big 12 teams.

MEN’S NIT

DAYTON 68, MISSISSIPPI 63: Chris Johnson scored 22 points, including five key free throws down the stretch, and Dayton (24-12) held off Mississippi (24-11) in the semifinals.

NORTH CAROLINA 68, RHODE ISLAND 67: Deon Thompson had 16 points and 13 rebounds as North Carolina (20-16) beat Rhode Island (26-10) in overtime at New York to reach the final.


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