Texas defeats No. 14 Oklahoma 78-58 in Red River Rivalry blowout

Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter

While the word “love” isn’t usually thrown around when talking about the Oklahoma Sooners, on Wednesday night, love was in the air for Texas women’s basketball.   

The program celebrated its first ever Pride Night, complete with mini flags, multicolored graphics and a performance by Austin’s Gay Men’s Chorus during pregame festivities. With a student section packed with energy and an attendance of 6,623 guests, fans expected nothing less than a thrilling rivalry brought to life on the court.   

Entering the matchup, Texas and Oklahoma were both looking to break the tie to take first in the Big 12 conference standings. The Longhorns outscored the Sooners 78-58, ending the No. 14 ranked team’s five-game winning streak.           

Leaving the first quarter with a tied score of 20, Texas quickly learned it was going to take a powerful defense to stop the team currently leading the Big 12 in offense with an average of 87.3 points per game.

Head coach Vic Schaefer said that running defensive drills during practice has been a key focus for the team coming into this matchup and was proud of how they executed them on the court.   

“We’re certainly a work in progress, but I thought tonight, possession for possession, we were pretty locked in,” Schaefer said. “We took them out of a lot of things they wanted to do, so it’s a great win for us.”    

Despite the Sooners having a veteran lineup that features sixth-year and fifth-year seniors, the underclassmen of Texas took the reins with no doubt in their abilities.        

Junior forward DeYona Gaston’s offensive rhythm was a crucial aspect to the team’s flow throughout the night as she assisted in giving the Longhorns a lead that they never lost. Gaston put up 19 points and shot at a 63.6% field goal percentage while logging only 23 minutes in the game.

“She’s not just a one-dimensional player,” Schaefer said. “Seeing her development, her maturity, her game, it’s why I enjoy doing what I do. She’s just grown so much in so many areas.”      

After exiting the court against Baylor on Sunday with an injury scare, sophomore guard Rori Harmon let the crowd know she was there to stay. Harmon, along with efforts from Gaston, held Sooner redshirt senior Madi Williams, who averages 16.9 points per game, to only 8 points.

“Keeping them to 58 with only 6 (points) in the third (quarter), I think that’s where we just understand that to play defense, that’s how we’re going to win basketball games,” Harmon said. “I think that was just our focus in this game.”

Texas’ next matchup comes against Oklahoma State, who got the better of the Longhorns the first time around, at home on Saturday.