Incoming freshman Earnesia Williams named MVP of Texas-Oklahoma All-Star Game
NORMAN, Okla. -- University of Texas incoming freshman guard Earnesia Williams made the most of her final appearance in a high school girls basketball uniform on Saturday night, pouring in 29 points - 23 in the second half - as she led her Oklahoma All-Star team to an 81-71 victory over the Texas All-Stars in the annual summer exhibition game between the top players in each state. For her efforts, Williams, of Sapulpa, Okla., takes game MVP honors back to Austin.
There were two incoming freshmen for Jody Conradt's squad playing in the game, which was held at Lloyd Noble Center. All-Stater and 6-4 post Ashley Lindsey, who starred at nearby Connally High School in Pflugerville where she led the Cougars to back-to-back State 4A semifinal showings the last two years, turned in a a strong effort for the Texas All-Stars.
Lindsey and Williams are two of the seven standout freshmen entering the Longhorns program this year - a class which has been ranked the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.
Texas held a 35-31 halftime lead but could not match Oklahoma's offensive surge in the second half, which was sparked by Williams' play on both ends of the floor. Williams hit five crucial free throws down the stretch after future UT teammate Lindsey had netted back-to-back layups to bring Texas within two, 70-68. Williams exploded for 11 of Oklahoma's final 13 points to put the game out of reach.
"Every time I looked at the scoreboard, I thought we had a gap with them, but we were still close," Williams said. "I just kept thinking about making my free throws and doing what I could do to contribute to my team."
The first half was a different story, however, as Lindsey swarmed Williams in the first period and held her to only six points. Three minutes into the game, the future college teammates met in the lane as Lindsey emphatically swatted away one of Williams' turn-around jumpers.
"I kept telling her, 'That was a nice block I did, huh?'" Lindsey said with a laugh after the game. "I got her again, too. Two times. Maybe two and a half."
It was Williams who dominated the second half, however, with open court layups and two hook shots to keep the Texas all-stars at bay.
When asked about her next game at Lloyd Noble Center - which will be in UT's burnt orange and white, Williams smiled and said, "Well, we'll see. Hopefully, I can play like this again. And hopefully they won't boo me."
Williams played in both the elite McDonald's All-America Game and the WBCA High School All-America Game this past spring, and was a finalist for the 2005 USA Basketball U19 National Team. Williams became the first McDonald's All-America female player from the state of Oklahoma. She was a big reason for Sapulpa's rise to power in Oklahoma's 6A classification. The 2004-05 Gatorade Player of the Year for Oklahoma as a senior, Earnesia averaged 19.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists. She helped lead the Chieftains to 66 wins the last three years.
Katie Birch, an Eastern Oklahoma State signee, added 11 points Saturday for the Oklahoma All-Stars. Eboni Mangum of Fort Bend Dulles, who has signed with Louisiana Tech, led Texas with 19 points, while Texas A&M signee Takia Starks of Spring Westfield added 12 points.
The victory evened the all-star series at 2-2, with each team winning in its respective state. This was the fourth game since the Texas-Oklahoma All-Star game's reinstatement in July of 2002. In 2002 the game was hosted at the United Spirit Arena, and Texas came away with the win. The following year the game was held at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. Oklahoma claimed victory in 2003. The Texas All-Stars reclaimed the victory upon returning to the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock in 2004.