NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – After climbing back into the top 10 for the first time in seven years, Texas Tech’s run of perfection ended with a final flurry by Oklahoma freshman Sharane Campbell.
Whitney Hand scored 24 points and Campbell provided the final seven points of the game as the Sooners overcame a 10-minute stretch without a field goal to beat the 10th-ranked Lady Raiders 71-68 Wednesday night.
Jordan Barncastle missed a contested 3-pointer from the right wing with 2 seconds left to try and tie it for the Lady Raiders (14-1, 2-1 Big 12). Their loss left No. 1 Baylor, No. 5 Maryland, and No. 14 Wisconsin-Green Bay as the only unbeatens remaining.
“You have to have a short term memory in this league. It’s really important that you understand that right now, you’ve got 15 more games to play and so much more can happen,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said.
“It’s going to come down to toughness and perseverance and staying positive and staying together and having a short term memory. If you don’t have it, you better find it real quick whether something good happens or something like tonight happens to us.”
After forcing Oklahoma (10-4, 2-1) into 17 straight misses, Texas Tech misfired on its final seven shots to squander a seven point lead over the final 5 minutes.
“We got some great looks and we just couldn’t finish,” Curry said. “Sometimes that’s the way the ball bounces. … It was kind of that defensive battle and who was going to make a play. They were fortunate and credit them for making a few more we were able to.”
Christine Hyde scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Lady Raiders, who were back in the top 10 for the first time since a one-week appearance in January 2005. Prior to then, they had been a regular in the top 10 for a dozen years after winning the 1993 national title.
But before this season, Tech hadn’t been ranked at all since 2006.
The Sooners (10-4, 2-1) rushed off the bench in celebration when the buzzer sounded, celebrating a breakthrough win in a rare season that finds them outside the Top 25. The current stretch is their first time unranked since 2005.
“I would venture to say this is one of the gutsiest performances our team’s had in a long time — not just this team but our program — to shoot the way that we shot and to hang around and put ourselves in a position to have a chance to win and then to make that happen,” coach Sherri Coale said.
Kierra Mallard, Tech’s top scorer and rebounder, had eight of her nine points in the first 2 minutes and fouled out with 2:33 remaining as the Sooners started to rally. Mallard missed her final nine shots but did have two of her three blocks to extend Oklahoma’s shooting drought.
Mallard, Casey Morris and Barncastle went a combined 0-for-12 in the second half and did not score.
“That’s just unacceptable. They’ve got to come out and be more aggressive than that and find a way to score,” Curry said. “Dadgum it, make a basket.”
Campbell came in after Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma’s leading scorer, went bounding over the first row of seats to fling a loose ball back onto the court with 5:31 remaining. She stayed down for a few moments while trainers came over to check on her, then walked back to the bench.
Coale said she was being evaluated for a head injury.
Campbell, scoreless up until that point, scored the Sooners’ final nine points as they overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 5 minutes.
“I’m supposed to be the energy, so I came in and it just happened to go my way,” Campbell said. “I just happened to be person that scored tonight.”
The Sooners missed 17 straight shots between Kaylon Williams’ layup just before the 14-minute mark that provided a 51-49 lead and Joanna McFarland’s 3-pointer from the left side, which brought Oklahoma back within 66-62.
Texas Tech never led by more than seven despite that strong defensive stretch, and Campbell put the Sooners within striking distance by converting a three-point play that fouled out Mallard in the process.
Campbell followed with a basket at the right block to put Oklahoma back ahead 69-68 with 2:06 remaining, and Tech didn’t score again.
Monique Smalls missed a 3-pointer, then made up for a Lady Raiders turnover by stealing the ensuing inbounds pass, only for Shauntal Nobles to commit an offensive foul while setting a screen on Tech’s inbounds play.
McFarland grabbed a key offensive rebound on Hand’s miss on the ensuing play, and DaShawn Harden set up Campbell for a layup with 12.7 seconds left.
The Lady Raiders failed to make a basket after Smalls’ driving layup with 4:56 remaining.
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