After three quarters of turnovers and missed opportunities in the paint, Texas women’s basketball rallied late to defeat Oklahoma State 61-56 in Stillwater on Saturday afternoon.
“We struggled the majority of the game just finishing around the rim,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “We just missed a lot of bunnies, I thought, that kind of toyed with our confidence in this game.”
The Cowgirls could have put the Longhorns away after the early mistakes alone, but sophomore center Charli Collier wasn’t going down without a fight. Collier made three shots from beyond the arc, scoring nine of Texas’ 15 first quarter points.
Oklahoma State struck first in the second quarter as Texas failed to convert shots into points and pick up offensive rebounds. During one stretch, none of the Longhorns could produce. Senior point guard Lashann Higgs missed a shot. Then Collier and senior guard Jada Underwood missed some of their own.
Later on, sophomore guard Audrey Warren reignited hope with a steal and an open court to the basket. But with a defender on her trail, Warren missed the shot. Eventually, sophomore guard Joanne Allen-Taylor ended Texas’ second quarter scoring drought with a much-needed 3-pointer. The stretch of sloppy offensive play kept Texas in that hole in the first half.
“I really thought our bench won the game for us because they gave us plays when the other (players) were either struggling or in foul trouble,” Aston said. “They kept us in it.”
High-pressure defense from senior point guard Sug Sutton resulted in a Cowgirls turnover that was gifted back by Texas’ carelessness with the ball on the subsequent play. Oklahoma State stole and scored, but the Longhorns persevered.
Yet late in the third, junior forward Vivian Gray began to heat up and make shots for Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls led 50-42 entering the fourth quarter — the largest lead of the game.
“We knew (Gray) was going to hit shots, so we just had to lock in and try to defend everybody else on the team,” Sutton said. “She’s been on fire all conference, so we just had to play defense as a team and continue to rebound and do the small things.”
Sutton led the charge in the fourth, scoring quickly on two layups. Then, as turnovers began mounting for Oklahoma State, Texas came storming back to pull within two. But Gray and her teammates continued to do damage, extending the Cowgirls’ lead to six with 6:03 to go.
Freshman guard Celeste Taylor fought back to cut the deficit to four, and then Collier saved the day yet again, sinking her career-high fourth 3-pointer of the game. On the next play, Taylor stole the ball, scored and drew a foul to give Texas the 56-54 lead that the Longhorns would hold on to, improving their conference record to 5–2.
“We won the game on the defensive end,” Sutton said. “It wasn’t on the offensive end. So we just had to stay patient on offense and let everything come to us.”