NORMAN, Okla. — Lashann Higgs scored a career-high 25 points and No. 8 Texas won at Oklahoma for the first time since the 2009-10 season, beating the Sooners 88-78 on Thursday night in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.
Ariel Atkins added 15 points and nine rebounds and Brooke McCarty had 12 points for Texas (10-1, 1-0 Big 12), which had lost its previous seven games at Oklahoma (5-7, 0-1). The Longhorns never trailed and led by as many as 20 points, slowing an Oklahoma offense that had averaged 85.6 points in five previous home games.
Oklahoma had won its last 12 Big 12 openers and is now 19-3 in such games under coach Sherri Coale. The Sooners’ last loss in their league opener was on Jan. 5, 2005, at Texas Tech.
Shaina Pellington scored 16 points and Ana Llanusa and Maddie Manning each added 14 to lead the Sooners, who are 1-3 this season against ranked foes, with a win over South Florida but losses to Oregon, Connecticut and Texas.
Texas raced to an 8-0 lead in the first 2 1/2 minutes, taking advantage of four early Oklahoma turnovers. The Sooners proved unable to close the gap, struggling to score both inside against the Longhorns’ large frontline and outside, where Oklahoma went 3 of 17 from 3-point range.
Texas led 26-13 after the first quarter and 41-24 at halftime. By that point, Oklahoma already had committed 11 turnovers – more than twice as many as Texas.
Oklahoma pulled within 12 twice early in the third quarter and was within 62-49 after Vionise Pierre-Louis hit two free throws with 9:25 left, but Atkins converted a three-point play, then hit a 3-pointer to rebuild Texas’ lead to 19 points.
Llanusa’s basket with 37 seconds left got Oklahoma within 84-76, but two late baskets by Jada Underwood – her only points of the game – gave Texas some late cushion.
Texas: The Longhorns ended their mystifying losing streak at the Lloyd Noble Center, posting a road win against a quality foe – one receiving votes in this week’s Associated Press poll – that could loom large in the Big 12 standings as the season develops.
Oklahoma: The Sooners missed an opportunity for another quality win that would help them establish a case for a potential 19th straight NCAA Tournament berth. Oklahoma has played the third-toughest schedule in the nation according to RealTimeRPI.com, but eventually the Sooners likely will need to beat some more ranked foes if they want to reach the postseason.
Texas: Will host unbeaten, No. 9 West Virginia on Sunday and No. 24 Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
Oklahoma: Will visit Iowa State on Sunday before hosting TCU next Thursday.