The No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners have been living on the edge. Junior forward Liz Scott made back-to-back, final-six-seconds game-winning shots to beat the No. 16 Texas Longhorns and No. 10 Baylor Bears on Jan. 29 and Feb. 2, respectively. Then, last Saturday, the Sooners won their third game in a row and third-straight by two points or less, defeating the West Virginia Mountaineers 101-99 in double overtime. It was senior leading scorer Madi Williams’ turn to provide the late-game heroics as she made the game-winning layup with nine ticks left.
It’s been an exciting stretch for Oklahoma since its blowout loss to the Kansas State Wildcats on Jan. 23 — the game in which Wildcat junior Ayoka Lee scored a Division I-record 61 points.
Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET, the Sooners face a rematch with the Longhorns, which will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.
The start of Oklahoma’s current three-game winning streak was the start of a three-game losing streak for Texas, which has since registered one win (at the Texas Tech Lady Raiders on Wednesday). The Longhorns lost two-straight games to Baylor after falling to the Sooners. They lost by 12 points in Waco on Feb. 4 and by eight points in Austin last Sunday. On Monday, Texas fell behind Oklahoma in the rankings. It is three games back of the Sooners in the Big 12 standings.
The Longhorns will be determined to pick up the big resume win they failed to get in two tries against Baylor and prove they are still one of the top teams in the conference. They are led by Aliyah Matharu’s 14.3 points per game and Rori Harmon’s 4.3 assists per game. But most of all they are led by their defense. Harmon, who averages 10 points per game, also leads the team in steals per game (2.4).
We’ll see if Matharu, Harmon, Joanne Allen-Taylor, Lauren Ebo and company can best Oklahoma’s trio of double-figure scorers (Williams, Taylor Robertson and Skylar Vann). Williams leads the team with 18.6 points and eight rebounds per game. Robertson adds 18 points per game and recently set a new Big 12 record for made threes in a career. She has 94 makes this season and is shooting at a 46.8 percent clip. Vann (11.7 points per game) is a big-time scorer off the bench who dropped a season-high 22 in a win over Baylor on Jan. 12.
It's been a wild ride for the Sooners, who started the season receiving votes. We’ll see if it continues Saturday night.
No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners (20-3, 9-2 Big 12) vs. No. 16 Texas Longhorns (16-6, 6-5 Big 12)
When: Saturday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Frank C. Erwin, Jr., Special Events Center in Austin, TX
Key to the matchup: Oklahoma taking care of the ball. The Sooners are 306th in the country in turnovers per game with 18.9. They are 40th in the nation in forcing turnovers, but Texas is seventh in forcing turnovers and sixth in turnover margin. That is where Texas excels and it’s a weakness of Oklahoma’s that can be attacked. It will be strength on strength with the Sooners’ shooting vs. the Longhorns’ field goal percentage defense and Oklahoma has the advantage when it comes to both getting to the line and making free throws. But the Sooners could let the game slip away if they don’t take care of the ball. In the first meeting, Oklahoma turned the ball over 27 times compared to Texas’ 24 miscues.