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Big 12 Tournament Semis: Harmon masterfully runs No. 15 Texas’ offense, makes key baskets

A third-quarter run helped the Texas Longhorns defeat the Oklahoma State Cowgirls and secure a spot in the Big 12 championship game.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament Semifinals - Texas vs Oklahoma State
Rori Harmon (with ball)
William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

It was a competitive game until the closing minutes, but a third-quarter run and Rori Harmon’s double-double performance proved too much as Texas defeated Oklahoma State 64-57 to earn a trip to the Big 12 championship game Sunday.

Texas had four of their five starters in double digits, with Shaylee Gonzalez leading the team in scoring with 17. Gonzalez may have had the buckets, but Harmon shined the brightest. With 11 points and 10 assists in 40 minutes, she masterfully ran the offense and made key baskets when the Longhorns needed them most, including a dagger three with 2:29 left to give Texas a 14-point lead.

In defeat, OSU did find success with the guard/forward combo of Lior Garzon and Naomie Alnatas. Garzon got the start, scored 11 points and stretched the floor, going 3-of-4 from three. She might’ve had an even bigger night, but she was in foul trouble early and ended the night with four personal fouls.

When a basket was needed, Alnatas was there to deliver. She led the Cowgirls with 13 points and her fourth-quarter threes helped keep OSU in the game until the closing minutes.

Texas was always in control, but Oklahoma State was right there with them in the first half. Even with Garzon getting in foul trouble, OSU received good contributions from Kassidy De Lapp to stay aggressive and was within five points at the half.

In the second half, Texas’ half-court defense was able to apply pressure and force all kinds of problems for OSU. Bad passes, on-ball pressure and careless mistakes plagued the Cowgirls as Texas went on a 13-2 run to take a commanding lead.

An Alnatas three in the fourth cut Texas’ lead to six, but that’s as close as OSU would get as Shay Holle and DeYona Gaston went on their own 6-0 run and Harmon hit the dagger three to end OSU’s tournament run.

Texas will now play Iowa State for the Big 12 title Sunday at 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2). There’s a lot at stake for Texas on Sunday; with the regular season title already in hand, a victory will give Texas both Big 12 titles in the same season for the first time since 2003. The matchup won’t be easy, though, as they split the regular-season series with the Cyclones. Iowa State just came off their own impressive semifinal victory, beating No. 2 seed Oklahoma 82-72.