Oklahoma women upset No. 4 Texas 70-59
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Usually, an unranked team gets excited about a win over the No. 4 team in the nation.
For Oklahoma, things just returned to normal.
Maddie Manning scored a career-high 14 points and Peyton Little added 13 points and a career-best 10 rebounds to help the Sooners upset No. 4 Texas 70-59 on Wednesday night.
Coach Sherri Coale said the win was important, but she didn’t overemphasize it, and neither did her team.
Oklahoma’s long-term success – 15 straight NCAA tournament appearances, six regular-season Big 12 titles and four conference tournament titles – make such victories the expectation.
Coale said her team improved early in the season, despite a 5-5 start, and the growing pains put the Sooners in position to beat the Longhorns.
”I feel like we won this game because of what we did in November and December,” Coale said. ”We just had to do hard stuff. We had to get broken into pieces to build ourselves into what we want to be. We’ve got a long way to go guys and a lot of improvement to make, but I’m really proud of our girls.”
The Sooners (10-5, 4-0) won their fifth straight and moved into a tie with Baylor atop the conference standings.
Texas (13-2, 2-2) was coming off its first loss of the season, a 59-57 setback at Iowa State on Saturday. The Longhorns followed that effort by shooting a season-low 26 percent from the field.
Texas, which entered shooting just 29 percent from 3-point range, made just 4 of 23 3-pointers. Nneka Enemkpali dominated inside with 21 points on 6-for-11 shooting and 16 rebounds, but her teammates made just 11 of 54 field goals and failed to get the ball to her consistently.
The much bigger Longhorns were outscored 24-22 in the paint. Texas coach Karen Aston said she was concerned about her team’s shot selection and said its ball movement was poor.
”I thought we took some really ill-advised shots,” Aston said. ”Rather frustrating, because we would call some things to try to get the ball inside and they just … you can’t take every open shot.”
Texas led by eight with four minutes left in the first half before Oklahoma rallied. The Sooners finally took a 27-26 lead on a free throw by Little 1:21 before halftime. The Sooners led 31-28 at the break, despite Enemkpali’s 13 points and 11 rebounds.
”I think this is the second game in a row that I’ve really felt like our team let a game slip away in the first half,” Aston said. ”We had ample opportunity to take advantage of their foul trouble, and we had a lead and we just didn’t value the possessions very well down the stretch in the first half.”
A 3-point play by Little pushed Oklahoma’s lead to 36-28 less than two minutes into the second half, and Gioya Carter’s 3-pointer pushed the Sooners’ lead to double digits for the first time.
Texas rallied, and a 3-pointer by Celina Rodrigo cut Oklahoma’s lead to 44-42. Oklahoma’s Gabbi Ortiz responded with a 3-pointer, and Oklahoma maintained control the rest of the way.
Texas: The Longhorns won two out of three last year. … Enemkpali, who had at least three blocks in her previous four games, had three more. … G Empress Davenport played one minute before picking up her second foul, and she didn’t return in the first half. She finished with two points in 15 minutes.
Oklahoma: The Sooners’ bench outscored Texas’ reserves 11-2 in the first half. … Carter, who averaged 17 points her previous four games, fouled out after scoring 11 points in just nine minutes. … F Kaylon Williams fouled out with seven points and five rebounds.
TOO MANY THREES
Texas shot 23 3-pointers in both of its losses. The Longhorns never shot more than 19 in any of their 13 wins.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Little was asked if Saturday’s game against TCU was a trap game, a game which a team overlooks a supposedly weaker opponent and gets beat. Little said she didn’t know what a trap game was, which Coale said was ”perfect.” After the interview session, Little asked Coale in the hallway, ”Should I know what that means, Coach?”
Texas: hosts Texas Tech on Saturday.
Oklahoma: at TCU on Saturday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP