Big XII Champs: Sooners upset 'Horns for title

Oklahoma's Maria Villarroel celebrates her team's 66-47 victory over Texas in the Big 12 Tournament Championship game Saturday in Dallas. With the win the Sooners earn a berth to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament and seventh overall during head coach Sherri Coale's tenure. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

DALLAS, Texas — For the second time in three years, Sherri Coale's Sooners are the Big 12 Tournament Champions.

Dionnah Jackson scored 21 points and Maria Villarroel added 19 as Oklahoma (23-8) completed their improbable four-game run to the title with a 66-47 win over Texas (28-4) Saturday in Dallas.

"Give Oklahoma credit," said Texas head coach Jody Conradt. "What a tremendous performance by them throughout the tournament. To win four games in a row and still playing with that kind of energy and intensity and focus that they played within this game, I think that deserves all of our admiration."

The Sooners, who were ranked No. 19 entering the tournament, knocked off Texas A&M (60-47), No. 13 Colorado (63-56), No. 8 Kansas State (78-66) and No. 2 Texas to win the title.

Trailing 30-20 at halftime, the Longhorns used a quick 4-0 run to cut the lead to six. But Oklahoma responded with a 12-4 run to break the game open.

Texas had jumped out on top of OU early in the game, but a 20-4 run and 13 first-half points from Jackson helped the Sooners take charge of the game and never let the ‘Horns get any closer than six points.

"Dionnah took over the game," said Coale on Jackson, who was named the Tournament's MVP. "She went one-on-one with Texas. We survived."

"People stepped up and that is what this team is all about," Jackson said. "Our team is together and tonight we all stepped and played well."

Overall, the Sooners shot 44.8 percent from the field and outrebounded Texas 42-28.

"They were just all over the place and it was hard to get anything going," said Texas guard Stacy Stephens. "We got a little impatient and took shots that we shouldn't have. They hustled all over the place and out rebounded us for misses."

"I don't know if I have ever been prouder of a team," said Coale, whose Sooners are headed to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth and seventh overall during her tenure. "What this team did this week is very special. They never quit believing. These guys are fun to coach and they just keep on learning."

With the win the Sooners earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year and seventh overall under Coale. OU's seed and location for the first round of next week's NCAA Tournament will be officially announced at 4 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.

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