Texas Women’s Basketball Advances to Big 12 Championship Final – Horns Illustrated
DALLAS -- Third-seeded Texas took advantage of its deep bench to outlast second-seeded Oklahoma, 59-46, in the semifinals of the
Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship on Sunday afternoon at American Airlines Center.
Texas will make its fourth appearance in a Big 12 Championship final against No. 6/7 Baylor on Monday (8 p.m. Central, FOX Sports 1). It is UT's first appearance in a Big 12 Championship final since 2004.
The Longhorns (22-9) were supported on Sunday by 32 points off the bench, which accounted for 59 percent of UT's offensive production. Junior center Imani McGee-Stafford led all reserves with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes for her fifth double-double of the season. Guards Celina Rodrigo and Krystle Henderson each made two second-half 3-pointers to lift the Horns down the stretch.
Oklahoma (20-11) jumped out of the gates with leads of 5-0 and 10-2 as Texas struggled to find momentum on the offensive end -- committing five offensive fouls in the first half and missing seven of their first eight shots.
Junior guard Brady Sanders made a 3-pointer at the 12:55 mark of the first half to end a four-minute scoring drought and spark a comeback. Texas went on to end the half on a 21-10 run, including a stretch of 12 consecutive points, for a 23-20 halftime lead.
Texas again started slow offensively in the second half, allowing OU to regain a four-point lead with 10:35 remaining, 34-30.
Rodrigo helped Texas swing momentum and take the go-ahead lead with a steal and assist to Empress Davenport on a fast break layup, followed by Rodrigo's second 3-pointer, which gave UT a 35-34 lead with 9:10 remaining.
The last 10 minutes of the game was all Burnt Orange & White, as the Longhorns out-scored OU 29-12 in the waning minutes.
Sanders and sophomore guard Brianna Taylor went a combined 9-of-10 at the free throw line to help preserve the game.
Monday's championship tilt with Baylor will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1 starting at 8 p.m. Central.
• TEXAS-OU SERIES: Texas won the 50th overall meeting between the Red River rivals to improve its all-time series lead to 27-23, including a 4-2 mark in the Big 12 Championship. The Longhorns take the season series, 2-1. Texas is now 4-4 against OU under Head Coach Karen Aston.
• FINALS: Texas is making its fourth appearance in a Big 12 Championship final, and second as a No. 6 seed. The last time UT advanced to the conference tournament final was in 2004, losing to Oklahoma 66-47. The Longhorns' lone Big 12 postseason title came in 2003 with 67-57 win over Texas Tech.
• BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP RECORDS: In the Big 12 Championship, Texas is now 21-17 overall, 13-12 against current Big 12 members, 8-4 as a No. 6 seed, and 3-2 under Head Coach Karen Aston. The Longhorns are 5-10 as the lower seed in the Big 12 Championship.
• OFF THE BENCH: UT's bench had a 32-3 scoring advantage over OU's bench on Sunday. In the last six games, Texas' bench has out-scored the opponent's bench by a total of 162-34.
• STIFLING DEFENSE: Texas held OU to its lowest scoring production since 2011, when the Sooners lost at UConn, 45-86. The is the eighth time this season Texas has held an opponent to 46 points or lower.
• LAST EIGHT GAMES: Since starting the conference season 4-8, Texas has won seven of its last eight games.
• POINTS IN THE PAINT: Texas held an 18-8 edge in the point in the paint on Sunday.