No. 19 Oklahoma edges No. 8 Texas 74-73
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Texas had no intention of leaving Oklahoma’s best 3-point shooter alone in the corner, but with two seconds left, Peyton Little found herself alone and knocked down a shot that broke a 70-all tie, and Nancy Mulkey scored a free throw as the No. 19 Sooners vaulted past No. 8 Texas, 74-73, on Saturday.
Oklahoma won its fifth straight game overall and its seventh straight game at home against Texas, which had won 19 consecutive games before Saturday.
”We knew they’d have to chase (Little) out in the corner, and it they didn’t, she would have it,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said of the late 3-pointer.
Little finished with 15 points, one of four Sooners in double figures, but Oklahoma (21-6, 12-3 Big 12 Conference) needed a free throw from Mulkey, a freshman who stole the ball with one second remaining, to clinch the victory against Texas. The Longhorns hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
Vionise Pierre-Louis scored a team-high 21 points off the bench for the Sooners but fouled out with two minutes to play. Gabbi Ortiz scored 14 points, and Gioya Carter added 10 points.
Brooke McCarty scored 16 points for the Longhorns in a game marked by 16 lead changes. Kelsey Lang added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Ariel Atkins scored 11 points for Texas (21-5, 14-1).
”I think they’re disappointed. They should be,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. ” … I’m disappointed for them and disappointed that we didn’t play better today. We still control our destiny so to say. We play at home in the Irvin Center on Monday, so we’ll get ourselves ready.”
Oklahoma shot 49 percent from the field to remain unbeaten at home in Big 12 play.
”This is the best overall game that we’ve connected and stuck to our game plan and played all four quarters,” Ortiz said. ”We didn’t have many drops. … To say that we’ve done that and a win came out of it, that’s great.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners have now won three games since losing starter Maddie Manning for the rest of the season and have all but clinched the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Championship.
Texas: The Longhorns lost for the first time in Big 12 play after its best start to conference play in school history. The Longhorns owned the second-longest active winning streak in the nation before Saturday.
Texas defeated No. 4 Florida State on Monday before losing to Oklahoma. The Longhorns could remain in the top 10, as No. 9 Washington lost this week to No. 18 UCLA.
Oklahoma could crack the top 15 given the strength of its victory, even though none of the teams immediately above the Sooners lost this week. No. 16 Miami plays No. 13 Duke on Sunday, guaranteeing a loss directly above Oklahoma.
Oklahoma guard Gabbi Ortiz crashed into fans seated courtside after stealing a pass and blindly flipping it behind her back to a teammate. She jumped out of the crowd and finished a transition layup on the other end after a no-look bounce pass from guard Gioya Carter.
”You have to make the little plays, the little things,” Ortiz said. ”… You have to outhustle in order to win the game.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners hit road the for a quick two-game trip to Kansas State and TCU before returning home for the season finale against Baylor.
Texas: The Longhorns return home Monday to face No. 4 Baylor in a matchup between the top two teams in the Big 12. Texas beat Baylor 85-79 in the first meeting.