Texas prepares for OU showdown

Jasmine C. Johnson

The last time No. 6 Texas (17-1, 6-1 Big 12) played No. 19 Oklahoma (13-4, 4-2 Big 12) at the Frank Erwin Center, the Longhorns needed 50 minutes of regulation to seal the deal.

After 13 ties and 14 lead changes, the Longhorns escaped with an 84-81 win in double overtime.

Then-freshman guard Ariel Atkins led Texas with 21 points, while then-junior center Imani Boyette added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Then-sophomore guards Peyton Little and Gioya Carter led Oklahoma with 16 points apiece.

The rivals will meet once again at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday at 11 a.m. Head coach Karen Aston said having a rival game on Texas Exes weekend adds to the importance of the game.

“Exes weekend is a big deal to us and playing Oklahoma is a big deal,” Aston said. “It’s home.”

Aston said she hopes Saturday’s matchup will have a similar showing to the Baylor game. Just under 9,000 fans attended that game last Sunday, compared to the 2,813 people who showed for last year’s matchup between the Longhorns and Sooners.

“It’s great that everyone showed up,” Aston said. “It was a great matchup and all of that, but so is Oklahoma at 11 a.m. next Saturday. And we would love to have more than 1,000 show up for that game or two.”

Regardless of who is in the crowd, Aston said the goal of hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament is still within reach.

“The main thing is we really do want to focus on trying to put ourselves in a position to host and we’re in that position right now,” Aston said.

In order to host, Aston said winning on home turf is incredibly important. Texas is 2-1 at home against ranked opponents this season. OU is 0-2 against ranked opponents on the road.

The Sooners are coming off a blowout 92-53 win against Texas Tech on Wednesday. Senior forward Kaylon Williams leads the Sooners in scoring and rebounding with 14.0 points and 8.5 rebounds a game.

The Longhorns are coming off from a road win at TCU. Boyette leads Texas with 13.0 points and 10.1 rebounds a game.

Texas leads the series 27-23. The Longhorns have 998 all-time wins in program history and are just two short wins of becoming just the fifth NCAA Division I women’s basketball program to reach 1,000 all-time victories.