Women's Hoops: Sooners Spoil UT's Tourney Party

DALLAS -- Tournament MVP and junior guard Dionnah Jackson scored 21 points and had nine rebounds, and senior guard Maria Villarroel added 19 to help 19th ranked Oklahoma, the tourney's No. 6 seed, upset No. 2 ranked Texas, 66-47, on Saturday night in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament title game at Reunion Arena. Texas, the tourney's No. 1 seed and co-regular season champions, was looking for its second consecutive Big 12 tourney crown.

Texas (28-4), now awaits word on its at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA Championship Tournament. The NCAA will announce its 64-team field on Sunday, March 14 during ESPN TV's "Selection Show" from 4-5 p.m. (central).

Oklahoma (23-8), which also upset No. 8 Kansas State (78-66) in the tourney semifinals, gained the Big 12's automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA Championship Tournament. The Sooners became the first team in        league history to claim the title without the benefit of a first-round  bye, playing four games in five days. Texas and OU have now won the last three Big 12 Tournament titles (Texas last year, OU the other two years). Texas was making its third Big 12 Tournament championship game appearance, winning the title last year while also placing second in 2000.

Texas was hampered by cold shooting, as the Longhorns connected on just 19 of 50 field goals attempted, making 38 percent of its shots. For the first time this season, the Longhorns did not make a three-point field goal, going 0-11 from long range. The Sooners hit 45 percent of their shots (26-of-58). From the foul line, the Longhorns were 9-for-15, the Sooners 12-for-18. The loss snapped UT's five-game series win streak over the Sooners.

UT freshman forward Tiffany Jackson (Dallas, Texas/Duncanville HS), named ESPN.com's National Freshman of the Year on Thursday, scored a team-high 18 points and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Jackson also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and had a game-high and career-best five blocks. Jackson made eight of 14 field goals, yet the rest of the Longhorns combined to go 11-for-36 from the floor.

Texas was out-rebounded for only the sixth time in 32 games (42-28). That was the largest rebound margin in the history of the Big 12 tourney's championship game.

The Sooners led 30-20 at intermission, as Texas closed the half with a 7-2 run. The Longhorns pulled to within six, 30-24, on junior Kala Bowers' fast-break layup two minutes into the second half, but then Oklahoma went on a 16-6 run and led 46-30 after a Villarroel layup with 8:27 to play.

Texas then responded with a 9-2 spurt to pull to within nine, 48-39, on sophomore Nina Norman's layup with 6:25 to go, but that would be the closest UT would get down the stretch. At that point, the Sooners rattled off 13 of the game's next 15 points in the next 3:05, as Villarroel netted 11 of those 13 points in the run.

Jackson was the lone player in double-figure scoring for Texas. Bowers added nine points and had a game-high tying three steals.

Joining Tiffany Jackson, Dionnah Jackson and Villarroel on the five-member All-Tournament Team was OU senior forward Caton Hill (11 points, nine rebounds in the title game) and sophomore forward Sophia Young of Baylor.

UT's Jackson turned in an impressive three-game performance at the Big 12 Tournament. She collected 43 points, 19 rebounds, six blocks and seven steals.

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