Aggies Stop Sooners' Win Streak
Feb. 23, 2009
COLLEGE STATION (AP)--Takia Starks watched crowds rush the court after big wins by the Texas A&M men's team and dreamed it would happen at a women's game.
Starks made her dream a reality Monday night.
She hit a layup in the lane with 6 seconds left to lead No. 12 Texas A&M to a 57-56 win over second-ranked Oklahoma, ending the Sooners' 20-game winning streak.
It is the highest-ranked team A&M has ever beaten.
The Aggies (21-5, 9-4 Big 12) trailed by one before Starks got the ball at the top of the key and drove into the lane for the winner. She also had a long jumper with 2 minutes left to get Texas A&M within striking distance.
The majority of the crowd of 7,035 dashed to the court and jumped around wildly to celebrate with the Aggies as the Sooners slowly walked off hanging their heads.
"(I thought) that would be so crazy if that happened at Reed Arena to us," Starks said. "That's the shot I've been dreaming about and the win I've been dreaming about. That's crazy it came true."
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair took Starks aside before the winning play and implored her to put the game away.
"I told her: `You've got to make a shot,' because our whole team missed shots in the last five minutes that were great shots," Blair said.
Oklahoma (24-3, 12-1) led by 14 points in the second half before Texas A&M went on a run that gave the Aggies a seven-point lead with eight minutes left. The Sooners, who had a season-high 29 turnovers, scored 10 straight points to take a 56-53 lead with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
It's Oklahoma's first loss since falling at No. 1 Connecticut on Nov. 30.
"That was a big-time play," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said of Starks' shot. "But the problem for us came way before that play. You don't give an opponent the basketball that many times and expect to win. ... You cannot give an opponent 29 extra offensive possessions."
Texas A&M got 18 points from Tanisha Smith and Starks finished with 12. Sydney Carter added 11 points and Danielle Gant eight.
The Sooners were led by Danielle Robinson's 17 points and Courtney Paris added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Aggies used a 25-4 run to erase a 14-point deficit and take a 53-46 lead with about eight minutes left. The Sooners had six consecutive turnovers at the end of that span, which left Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale standing with her hands on her hips staring at the court in disbelief.
Oklahoma didn't score for almost seven minutes during A&M's run. The Sooners finally broke the drought with a jump shot by Paris with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining.
"Hopefully we learn from this and we're better tomorrow because of this," Paris said.
It was Oklahoma's first game without guard Whitney Hand, who had surgery on a broken left index finger and is expected to be out for four weeks.
Coale thinks Hand's absence contributed to her team's turnover problem Monday.
"When Whitney Hand gets well we'll be a lot better," Coale said. "She steadies them. She's good with the basketball in her hand. She's such a threat that they have to guard her differently than they do other players. I think that makes a significant difference."
The Sooners scored nine straight points to open the second half and stretch their lead to 42-28.
Texas A&M took advantage of four turnovers by Oklahoma to score the next eight points and cut the lead to 42-36 with about 15 minutes left.
Oklahoma led by a dozen after seven minutes as the Aggies made just two of their first 12 shots. Texas A&M then went on a 14-4 run to cut the lead to 20-18 about 6 1/2 minutes before halftime. A four-point play by Starks highlighted that run.
The Aggies tied it three times after that, but never took the lead. Oklahoma scored five straight points to end the half and led 33-28 at halftime.