Women's Basketball upsets No. 9 Oklahoma, 67-62
AUSTIN, Texas -- Senior forward Tiffany Jackson registered her eighth double-double of the year with 22 points and 13 rebounds, and freshman forward Earnesia Williams added 13 points, to lift The University of Texas to a 67-62 upset win over Big 12 leader No. 9/8 Oklahoma Wednesday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Longhorns, now 15-7 overall, evened their record to 4-4 in the Big 12. Texas dropped out of the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls this week after dropping two league games last week - including losing on a last-second shot to Texas Tech on Saturday.
The Longhorns bounced back with their second win over a top-10 opponent this month. UT beat then-No. 10 Purdue, 64-61, on Jan. 7. Texas shot 43.5 percent in the game, making 27 of 62 field goals attempted.
Oklahoma (17-3) is now 7-2 in the conference, losing its second consecutive league game after winning 26 in a row in Big 12 action. Oklahoma turned the ball over 24 times which resulted in 18 points for UT. OU led only once in the game (at 3-2).
There are now eight Big 12 teams within two games of each other in the Big 12 race. Texas is now 5-4 in games this year decided by five points or less. The Longhorns, 12-3 at home this year, now play four of their next five games on the road.
Jackson (Dallas, Texas) also added game-highs and season-high tying six steals and four blocks to her 38-minute effort. Two other players joined Jackson and Williams in double-digit scoring, as freshman guards Brittainey Raven and Carla Cortijo finished with 10 points apiece. Junior guard Erneisha Bailey had six points and eight rebounds, to help the Longhorns out-rebound the Sooners by a 43-39 margin.
Sophomore post Courtney Paris had 25 points and 18 rebounds for the Sooners, notching her 48th straight double-double and her 53rd overall.
Paris scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the second half, as OU fought to overcome Texas' large 36-20 halftime lead.
Down the stretch, Oklahoma pulled to within four twice, the first 64-60 with 47 seconds left following two Paris free throws. On UT's next possession, freshman point guard Carla Cortijo was fouled and hit the second of two free throws for a 65-60 UT edge. OU came downcourt, missed a layup and had a second shot (a jumper) blocked by Williams. On her defensive rebound attempt, UT freshman Brittainey Raven was fouled, and she stepped to the line and made her second of two free throws to give Texas a 66-60 lead with 28 seconds to go.
A Britney Brown uncontested layup six seconds later cut the lead back to four, 66-62. OU then fouled Texas, and Cortijo made one of two foul shots for the final 67-62 margin of victory.
The largest Longhorn lead in the second half was 18 points (44-26 with 17:31 to go).
Paris was the only player in double figures for the Sooners. Senior guard Erin Higgins added nine points.
The Longhorns held their 16-point lead at intermission (36-20) on the strength of Jackson and three 3-point jumpers in the waning minutes of play. Texas held the Sooners to stretches of 4:14 and 6:25 without scoring in the half. Texas dominated play in the paint, out-scoring the Sooners 22-4 inside and had a 12-0 advantage in points off turnovers. OU turned the ball over 13 times in the opening 20 minutes, while UT had eight turnovers.
Texas made 42 percent of its first-half shots, going 15-for-36, while holding the Sooners to 27 percent shooting accuracy (7-for-26).
UT lead by five, 23-18, with 2:48 to go in the period before the Longhorns erupted for a 13-3 run which was aided by five points each from Jackson and Williams. In the final 2:16, Texas scored 13 points, with Jackson starting the surge with a putback, followed by a Brittainey Raven 3-pointer from the corner and a Williams trey from the top of the key. Williams then intercepted a Sooner pass and scored on a fastbreak layup for a 15-point lead, 33-18, with 1:07 to go.
OU scored next on a Leah Rush jumper before the Longhorns closed out the half when Jackson nailed a three-pointer than rolled around the rim twice before dropping in as the shot clock expired with nine seconds to go.
Texas had jumped out to a 23-12 lead with 4:50 to go, as Jackson had nine points and six rebounds in the first minutes of action. OU committed 11 turnovers in the first 15 minutes of play and were 5-for-21 from the floor.
Texas was 10-27 (37.0) with four blocks and six steals in going to to the 11-point edge.
OU chipped away at the lead, with Courtney Paris going three-for-six from the foul line on OU's next three trips down the court and Erin Higgins hit a 3-pointer, to cut the Texas lead to 23-18 with 2:48 left in the half.
That was the closest the Sooners would get in the half, however, as Texas blitzed to its 13-3 run to close out the half.
Neither team shot well from the foul line, with UT going 10-for-24 and the Sooners 9-for-17 from the charity stripe. Texas had seven blocks and OU had five.
Texas hits the road for its next two games, traveling to Manhattan, Kansas for a Saturday, Feb. 5 game against Kansas State. That game tips at 4:30 p.m., and will be broadcast live by FSN (FOX Sports Net). Texas follows with a Wednesday, Feb. 7 Big 12 contest at Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. at 6 p.m. (CT).
Both games will air live on KVET Radio 1300 AM in the Central Texas area and will be live via internet audio as well on subscription-based Yahoo!College Sports (via TexasSports.com).
OKLAHOMA POSTGAME QUOTES
Right now, the turnovers are bad. We need to go to the gym and work on it (turnovers). That's what we did for two days (after the loss to Texas A&M). And we'll do it again. Maybe we're just trying too hard and trying to fix it all at once.
Oklahoma sophomore post Courtney Paris
Oklahoma senior guard Erin Higgins
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
We had a good start tonight offensively. We were aggressive. We have to share the basketball and Tiffany (Jackson) was her old self tonight, too. Our offense had good flow. The difference was that we were aggressive. We shot with confidence. That's something we are developing. And, we worked on the boards better - rebounding is not one of our strengths. Because we had 16 offensive boards, that helped us tremendously.
The (Big 12) race is on. This week changed everything. OU is not sitting out there undefeated, and everyone else has the ability to be in contact with them. This conference is just unbelievable in how deep it is. You watch it every day - A&M and Oklahoma State went down to the wire last night after A&M beat Oklahoma this weekend. It is brutal.
On UT's defense and holding the Sooners to 27 percent shooting in the first half, 40 percent for the game: We have really played great defense this year. I really love the way this team gets down and does the work necessary to play good defense. They now know that in this league if you take a play off or rest, you will be penalized for it. I was disappointed in the Baylor game that we did not play as hard as we could play. I really believe that this team believes that we can win with defense. You can see that our team prides itself in it and that we enjoy playing defense.
On the play of Courtney Paris (game-highs of 25 points, 18 rebounds) and what Texas did tonight to try and stop her: You won't shut her down. We came about as close to (doing) that in the first half... she had maybe, six, five points. That's about as good a job as you can do. We had to be concerned about guarding everyone on OU's team. We made three defensive mistakes in the first half and they killed us on all three. We did not have enough pressure on the perimeter twice, and they gave it to Courtney where she wanted it and she scored. And, we lost (Erin) Higgins and she made a three.
You need to force her out of her comfort zone. Force her not to be point-blank when she shoots the basketball. It is a team effort to defend against her. People on the perimeter need to apply enough pressure on the passer. We've watched Courtney a lot on tape. A lot of time she shots the first shot quick. But, her points come when she gets second and third rebounding opportunities. Tonight, we said, let's not give her second and third opportunities. She did get some putbacks in the second half, but we did a good job on preventing more. Credit goes to our coaching staff for recognizing that in watching the film. She is not going to beat you with her first shot, but if you give her a chance to get under there and go up and up and up - then that's when they are going to win.
In the second half defensively, we relaxed a bit and let them get back into the game. It could have cost us, particularly when we missed free throws at the end. We have been in every game we've played in the conference, but in our losses we have not finished.
Texas redshirt freshman forward Earnesia Williams (13 points, five rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal): I had extra motivation tonight, of course, being from Oklahoma and getting on the court against them for the first time. I thought about going to OU, and Texas was the better choice for me. It was a really good feeling tonight to win. I had to guard (Leah) Rush who is a smart senior player, and had to stay on her. We all did our part.
Senior post Tiffany Jackson (22 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks, six steals)
In terms of my play tonight. Going up against Courtney is difficult. She is very very strong and you don't want to ever be playing her one-on-on. That's why we did a good job on her, team-wise. We got a lot of tipped balls in the paint and put pressure on their guards.
I just really am blessed with a great coaching staff, and they are helping me get back into a rhythm and a flow on the court. I've worked hard on my game in practice. And, today, Travis (assistant coach Travis Mays) challenged me. He said he did not care if I scored a point as long as I did a good job every possession on the court against Courtney. Whatever it took to get us a win I was going to do tonight.