AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas women's basketball team lost Saturday for just the third time at the Frank Erwin Center this season, falling to Oklahoma, 68-63, in overtime.
The loss moves Texas back to 16-7 overall, and most importantly, 10-6 in Big 12 play, falling behind Iowa State into fifth place in the conference standings. Oklahoma improved to 10-10 overall, and 7-8 in games against conference foes
The Horns set the tone early on defense, employing a tenacious full-court press for much of the first half, as Oklahoma was held to just 20 points over the first two quarters.
That defensive effort translated into a strong start offensively for head coach Vic Schaefer's team, as Texas shot 50 percent in the first quarter, outscoring the Sooners, 15-11, after the first 10 minutes. With that momentum, Texas center Charli Collier opened the second half with back-to-back short-range shots from the paint, as Texas went up, 19-14, with 7:57 left in the first half.
That lead widened until forward Lauren Ebo's short jumper with 1:39 to play extended the margin to double digits, 28-18, for just the second time in the game. At halftime, Texas led, 28-20, and seemed to be on pace for its third straight win.
As the third quarter got underway, UT showed no signs of slowing down, though Oklahoma did get the deficit back to single digits despite multiple attempts by the Longhorns to pull away. With the final quarter set to begin, Texas clung to a seven-point, 46-39 advantage.
In a sense, it was UT's fourth quarter that cost it the game, as the Sooners found close-range shots and started the quarter on a 4-0 run. Three turnovers in the first five minutes of the fourth did not help the Horns.
The final four minutes were costly for Texas. In the blink of an eye, UT went from holding a 57-46 lead with just 3:51 left in the game to being forced to draw up a last-second shot to avoid sending the game into overtime. The home crowd fell silent as the Sooners got shot after shot to fall and went to the line six times in the final four minutes. Oklahoma, taking advantage of the frequent trips to the charity stripe, went 12-of-12 from the line during that period. That one area spelled trouble for Texas, as Oklahoma made just one layup otherwise, at the 1:53 mark. The Horns were held to a mere two points over those last four minutes, when guard Audrey Warren scored with 3:10 on the clock.
It was also Warren who missed a potential game-winning layup with 11 seconds left, pushing the contest into overtime, and leaving the door wide open for Oklahoma to complete one of the biggest comebacks in the Big 12 this season.
That is exactly what the Sooners did, taking an early lead on a fast-break layup before guard Celeste Taylor got a three-pointer to fall, putting Texas back in front by one, 62-61. Taylor the only Texas player to score during that five-minute overtime period, knocking down a free throw with 2:57 left. From that point on, Oklahoma took control, outscoring the Horns, 9-4, in overtime, and closing the game on a 5-0 run.
Collier turned in a 23-point performance before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Taylor and guard Joanne Allen-Taylor each scored 10 points and Warren chipped in with 13. Taylor and Collier also were quick on defense, as each tallied four steals.
There is little time for the Longhorns to focus on the loss to OU, as the home finale looms on Monday night, when No. 7 Baylor comes to Austin. The Bears held Texas to just 35 points in a 25-point victory when the two met Feb. 14 in Waco.