Notre Dame arrives in Oklahoma late after plane was diverted

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The Notre Dame women’s basketball team arrived several hours late in advance of its Sweet 16 game as it tried to avoid storms and tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area that left one person dead on Wednesday.

Notre Dame’s traveling party considered flying into Dallas and possibly spending the night there, but instead landed in Lawton, Oklahoma, about 100 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.

”When we first landed in Lawton, we really didn’t know what was up at first,” guard Lindsay Allen said. ”And we get off the plane, and it’s like, really, really windy.”

The team bonded in the terminal, eating pizza, watching Netflix and playing cards, while waiting for buses to arrive from Oklahoma City.

”We were just hanging, you know, we were being kids,” guard Jewell Loyd said. ”Everyone is laughing, dancing. We had food delivered to the airport, and we were just watching the storm as it continued to rain – just the colors of the clouds and stuff like that – and we were kind of just relaxing.”

Notre Dame associate media relations director Chris Masters said the team reached its hotel in Oklahoma City at about 11:15 p.m. Central time Wednesday, about three hours later than expected. The team practiced as scheduled Thursday to prepare for its game against Stanford on Friday night.

”We made the most of it, and our condolences to the people that were seriously affected by the storm,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.

Baylor also was affected. Coach Kim Mulkey said the Lady Bears returned to their Waco terminal to refuel after waiting on the runway for a time before being told the Oklahoma City airport had been shut down because of bad weather.

Mulkey said the Lady Bears were able to wait inside the airport until the weather eventually cleared at their destination, arriving at their Oklahoma City hotel around 10 p.m. Baylor will play Iowa on Friday.

Stanford, which will play Notre Dame, landed before the worst of the weather.

”It was really quite a storm with hail on the bus, and we were getting warnings on our phones,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ”We were thankful to get to the hotel.”

AP Sports Writers Tom Coyne and Kurt Voigt contributed to this report.