Late rally boosts Oklahoma past Texas in Saturday thriller

Tong Vu

The Sooners never led in regulation. They even trailed by as many as 12 with four minutes to go. 

But a late, relentless effort by a shorthanded Oklahoma team resulted in a thrilling 68-63 Sooners overtime victory Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.

For the majority of the match, Texas looked to be in control. However, junior center Charli Collier, graduate transfer guard Kyra Lambert, sophomore guard Celeste Taylor and junior forward Audrey Warren, all key pieces for Texas, fouled out down the stretch. Oklahoma took advantage, going on an 18-4 run and carrying over into overtime to end the game.

“I think they just got momentum and started driving the ball,” junior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor said. “They had more momentum, and they were playing more ‘together,’ and that’s how they got the win.”

The loss of Collier and Warren opened up the paint for Oklahoma, allowing them to attack relentlessly in the game’s final moments. The momentum that Texas held for the majority of the day suddenly vanished.

While late mistakes and turnovers played a huge role in the loss, head coach Vic Schaefer credits the Sooners, who only suited seven total players, with great heart and perseverance.

“I really want to commend Oklahoma —  I just thought they played with tremendous heart and passion today,” Schaefer said. “They didn’t quit. Their two players go out, and the rest of the team picks up the slack and rallies around … I just thought they were tremendous.”

Schaefer also noted a lack of effort and focus as a factor in his team’s loss today. The Longhorns shot 9-of-19 from the free throw line, leaving crucial points off the board, while the Sooners shot 25-of-29 from the charity stripe.

“When you put a team on the line 29 times, they make 25 and you go 9-for-19, you probably don’t deserve to win,” Schaefer said.

Although the Longhorns sending the Sooners to the line for 29 shots may seem like a result of aggressive defense, Schaefer said many of the fouls his team committed were unnecessary.

“I thought a lot of our fouls today were just not smart,” Schaefer said. “There’s really no one on that team that should be breaking you off the bounce.”

Collier, who plays a huge role in her team’s defensive success, was asked what she thought gave her team the most problems down the stretch. 

“Transition, transition defense,” Collier said. “Guarding the ball off penetration, just allowing them to go wherever they wanted to go.”

Collier watched from the bench on several possessions while her squad gave up 20 points off turnovers and 10 fast break points to Oklahoma. Texas ended the match with only three points off fast breaks.

Schaefer said he could’ve done more to help his team bring home the win. 

“At the end of the day, we were up 12 with four to go,” Schaefer said. “It’s my job to get us home.”

While a loss like this is tough to swallow, Collier and the Longhorns will have to find a way to regroup as they face Baylor on Monday.

“You just gotta take games like this and have a short memory, you can’t drag this on,” Collier said.