12:00 PM ET, January 27, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. -- After his rugged Texas A&M team ended Oklahoma's remarkable Big 12 winning streak with one last lunging rejection, coach Gary Blair had to ask a question of his own: "Why does defense always have to be ugly?"Morenike Atunrase scored 18 points before leaving with an injury and Danielle Gant leaped to block Kendra Moore's last-second 3-pointer, securing Texas A&M's (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today; No. 21 AP) 54-52 upset of sixth-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday."Gant came out of nowhere and did her Batman act," Blair said. "That was just a great block because I've seen them hit too many shots like that."A'Quonesia Franklin added 13 points and Takia Starks scored 11 as the Aggies (15-4, 5-2) won in Norman for the first time since 1990. They'd lost their last 11 games at Oklahoma.The loss ended Oklahoma's record-setting 26-game win streak against Big 12 foes, which dated to a loss to Texas in the 2005 conference tournament. It also ended a run of eight straight wins for the Sooners (17-2, 7-1) this season and 24 in a row against Big 12 opponents in the regular season."Oklahoma raised the bar, and now people are getting better to be able to compete with them," Blair said. "We owe Oklahoma a lot in that."Texas A&M overcame a seven-point deficit with a 13-0 run, taking a 46-40 lead on Gant's two free throws following a technical foul on Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale. It was the only lead change in the game.From there, the Aggies had to prevent the Sooners from staging their second rally this week from a five-point deficit in the final minute.Erin Higgins sandwiched a pair of 3s around one by Starks to get Oklahoma to 53-51 with 55.1 seconds left, and Leah Rush made one of two free throws to make it a one-point game. But La Toya Micheaux was fouled after grabbing the rebound on Rush's miss and also hit one of two to put the Aggies up 54-52 with 3.5 seconds left.Gant then blocked Moore's desperation 3-pointer from the right wing to seal Texas A&M's second straight win over a top 25 team and its second road win against a top 10 team in two weeks. The Aggies beat then-No. 10 Baylor 60-52 on Jan. 13."This isn't our first rodeo," Blair said. "We're here to win championships."Rush scored 16 points to lead Oklahoma, and Courtney Paris ended up with a season-low 12 points and 20 rebounds for her 47th straight double-double."I figured if she don't touch it, she can't score," Micheaux said. "I was trying to limit her touches."Oklahoma's scoring output was its lowest of the season, and the Sooners committed a season-high 28 turnovers against the Aggies' constant pressure."We couldn't get in a position to see where (Paris) was open from," Coale said.The Aggies charged into the lead while Atunrase, who led them back from a 10-point first-half deficit, was on the bench with four fouls.Starks hit a 3-pointer to start the decisive run and another to make it 44-40 after Moore had twice knocked the ball into the backcourt. Coale then called timeout and continued arguing with an official, drawing the technical.Before being carried off the court following a collision with Rush with 2:31 left, Atunrase helped get the Aggies back in the game by fueling a six-point run early in the second half.Atunrase hit two free throws and then a layup before blocking Chelsi Welch's shot to set up a fast-break layup by Franklin that cut the deficit to 28-26.Oklahoma extended the lead to seven with five straight points from Rush before Atunrase trimmed it to 35-33 with a steal and layup. But she was then taken out after picking up her fourth foul with 12:33 to play.Atunrase was without crutches or ice after the game and said she expected to play Tuesday against Oklahoma State.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||18-54 (.333)||16-49 (.327)|
|3P Made-Attempted||8-17 (.471)||5-14 (.357)|
|FT Made-Attempted||10-17 (.588)||15-22 (.682)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|