8:00 PM ET, February 12, 2008
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Coach Sherri Coale didn't need any type of inspirational talk at halftime to rally Oklahoma and pick up her 250th career win. She let the players figure it out for themselves.Jenna Plumley shook off a sloppy start to score a season-high 18 points and Courtney Paris added 20 points and 11 rebounds as the 10th-ranked Sooners came from behind to beat Texas A&M (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) 68-56 on Tuesday night."Sometimes they just need to sit in a room and look at each other, take a deep breath and figure it out," Coale said. "I think really that's what they did at halftime."Oklahoma cleaned up its game after committing 17 first-half turnovers, and Plumley broke out of a shooting slump to hit two of her four 3-pointers as the Sooners took control right after halftime.Oklahoma (18-4, 8-2 Big 12) made 12 of its first 16 shots to start the second half and won after trailing at halftime for only the second time in six tries this season.Oklahoma quickly erased a six-point halftime deficit by starting the second half on an 11-0 run, with Plumley's 3-pointer from the right giving the Sooners a 37-32 edge.She had another 3-pointer in an eight-point surge that Amanda Thompson finished with a jumper in the lane to make it 47-37.The Aggies responded with back-to-back baskets by A'Quonesia Franklin and Patrice Reado, but Paris and twin sister Ashley Paris scored six straight points to restore a double-digit lead for Oklahoma. Texas A&M (17-7, 5-5) never got closer than 10 after that and had a four-game winning streak snapped."The whole ballgame was simply our lack of pressure defense in the second half and their very, very good offensive execution," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "That's the name of the game."Reado hit her first six shots and scored 19 points, the second-highest total of her career, despite fighting through migraine headaches to lead Texas A&M. Takia Starks added 13 points with six turnovers, while Danielle Gant and Morenike Atunrase scored 11 apiece."It's been a hard night for me tonight. I just wanted to help my team because I felt like I was going to pass out tonight," Reado said. "It felt like that, but I just wanted to help my team get this victory."Freshman point guard Danielle Robinson scored all 15 of her points in the second half, when the Sooners shot 65 percent (17-for-26). Ashley Paris added 10 rebounds.Courtney Paris recorded her 83rd straight double-double and the 88th of her career -- more than any men's or women's player in NCAA history can claim. Wake Forest's Tim Duncan holds the men's record with 87, and there is no official record on the women's side.The win against the defending Big 12 co-champions started a crucial stretch for the Sooners, who face conference leaders Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State in their next three games.Coale thought her players came out poised after sitting around at halftime saying, "Hey, we're better than this.""A&M can't keep that same pace for the entire 40 minutes, and so they run out of gas a little bit later, and we were able to execute and attack as they got a little bit tired," Coale said."We talk about that all the time: Just survive it early because it is crazy early, but you can't keep that up for an entire 40 minutes. If you can just survive it, then you can take advantage of it late," she said.Oklahoma had only four turnovers in the second half against an Aggies defense that leads the Big 12 in takeaways. That led to a much crisper offense."I don't think we'll see any more heat than they give you all over the floor," Coale said. "Those guys play hard now."Plumley, who'd missed all nine of her 3-pointers in Oklahoma's past two games, went 4-for-7 from 3-point range but said it was an early basket off an offensive rebound that got her going."I felt like I just had to gather myself and get my rhythm, and then once I got it going, it was just there and I let it go," said Plumley, who also had a clean second half after committing four turnovers before halftime.On his way out of the interview room, Blair congratulated Coale on getting her 250th victory. In the process, she kept Blair two wins away from 500 for his career."I was trying to get to 500 by Sunday," Blair said, "and she just blew that out of the water."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-57 (.386)||26-53 (.491)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-8 (.250)||4-10 (.400)|
|FT Made-Attempted||10-13 (.769)||12-16 (.750)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|