By Michael Kinney
The Oklahoma women’s basketball team had been looking for a big win all season. They type of victory that would show just how good the team could be.
In the team’s first eight games, that win never came as they muddled around near the bottom of the Big 12.
However, on Wednesday, the Sooners got their chance to make a statement as they traveled to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech.
After trailing by as many as nine points late in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma took Texas Tech to the wire and came out on top in a 75-74 thriller.
“I think this is probably the best thing that could have happened to our team because we had to win with defense,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “We have such confidence in our offense. We believe we can score anytime, anywhere. But defense, we quite haven’t had the results from that. So when we had to win this game by getting a stop, we were able to do that.”
The win earned the Sooners their first road victory of the season as they improved their overall record to 4-5 and 1-3 in conference action. The Red Raiders dropped to 6-3 and 1-3.
But late in the game, it looked like the Sooners were on their way to another tough defeat. The Lady Raiders led 68-59 with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
That is when Oklahoma started to put things together and went on an 11-2 run. Gabby Gregory’s 3-pointer with 1:21 left on the clock tied the contest at 70-70.
Tech scored to take a 72-70 lead, but the Sooners quickly answered as Taylor Robertson came down the floor to hit her seventh 3-pointer of the night with 37.9 on the clock.
The Red Raiders scored again to go back up by a point. The Sooners called a timeout to set up the final moments of the game.
Oklahoma got the ball to Mandy Simpson, who was fouled. The 59 percent free-throw shooter went to the line and knocked down both attempts to put OU ahead 75-74 with 8.4 seconds left in the game.
“I applauded her courage and bravado for stepping to the line and just saying I’m going to do this for my team,” Coale said of Simpson.
The Red Raiders had plenty of time to get off a final shot, but the Sooners harassed them onto a bad possession as they held on to win.
Robertson led the Sooners with 24 points. That included dropping 7 of 10 shots from behind the arc.
Gregory scored 16 with 12 of her points coming during the fourth quarter. Madi Williams finished with 12 points and three assists, while Simpson tallied 10 and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
“I think they understand there are lots of ways we can win,” Coale said. “It doesn’t have to be one player having the game of their life. It doesn’t have to be a certain five on the floor for a certain amount of time. There are lots of different ways to win basketball games.”
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