Turnovers cost Sooners in loss to A&M

A&M ends No. 6 Oklahoma's 26-game win streak against Big 12 opponents with a 54-52 upset in Norman.

Playing against the most agressive defense seen in the Lloyd Noble Center team in quite some time, No. 21 Texas A&M stopped the No. 6 Oklahoma's Big 12 winning streak at 26 games holding off the Sooners 54-52.

Senior forward Leah Rush, an 83 percent free throw shooter overall and 94 percent in Big 12 play, missed the second of two free throws with seven seconds left that would tied the game.

After the Aggies made one free throw, senior guard Kendra Moore dribbled the ball the length of the court with three seconds left only to have former Putnam City West star Danielle Gant block her 3-point shot at the buzzer.

The loss drops the Soooners to 17-2 overall and 7-1 in the conference play. However, they are still a game ahead of the Aggies ,who are 15-4 overall and 5-2 in Big 12 play.

A&M forced the Sooners into a season-high 28 turnovers (16 in the first half) as OU struggled to get the ball up court and spent a great deal of the shot clock each posssession dribbling the ball 25 feet from the bucket. The Aggies were always able to get a hand on the ball or knock the ball away from the Sooners, so even when OU didn't turn it over they seemed to always be scrambling after the ball.

The Aggies fronted All-American center Courtney Paris and were succesful in limiting her touches. Paris finished with her 47-straight double-double with a season-low 12 points and 20 rebounds. She also blocked five shots.

Paris only took 12 shots in the game hitting four, but was still frustrated by the Aggie defense as she missed several shots close to the basket. However, she single-handedly kept the Sooners in the game in the second half blocking shots on four-straight possessions at one point.

Rush led the way for the Sooners with 16 points and five rebounds, and freshman forward Amanda Thompson was solid off the bench with three points and seven rebounds.

Morenike Atunrase led the Aggies with 18. And La Toya Micheaux did a good job defensively on Paris fronting her the entire game and then showing enough quickness to recover as she received help from the Aggies collapsing defense.

OU shot only 32.7 percent from the floor, but they held the Aggies to 33.3 percent shooting. OU easily won the rebounding battle 49-30, 16 offensively which led to 17 second chance points.

"Give credit to Texas A&M," said OU head women's coach Sherri Coale. "They forced us out of our game offensively and because it was taking us so long to get the ball into some kind of offensive position to score and we never got on track offensely.

"This is a good lesson for us because if we are going to reach our goals of playing for the National Championship and winning the Big 12 Championship, we have to learn how to play with pressure. Our guards have to learn how to handle pressure better. Texas A&M put a lot of pressure on us up top, but if we execute we had a lot of opportunties behind it on the back end.

"The top teams in women 's basketall all put tremendous pressure on the guards. North Carolina, Maryland, Duke, UConn, Tennessee all put great pressure on you and if you don't handle it you won't win. So this is a good lesson for us and something we will learn from and build on."

The game ends a tough stretch of six games in the last 13 days for Oklahoma. The Sooners will return to the court Wednesday on the road at Texas.

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