COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The No. 12/9 Oklahoma women’s basketball team (18-4, 8-3) relinquished its year and a half hold on first place in the Big 12 on Saturday afternoon when No. 16/19 Texas A&M (19-4, 9-2) upset the Sooners, 78-68, for the second time in as any meetings this season.
Texas A&M junior guard Takia Starks had 17 first half points to lead the Aggies to a 37-29 lead at intermission in College Station.
Sooner All-American Courtney Paris had just 6 points at the break and was just 2-7 from the field. Paris missed several lay-ups, as did her teammates who were just 11-25 from the floor and 5-10 at the free throw line in the opening session.
OU came out of the half on fire and took a two-point lead at 41-39 by the 17 minute mark.
“We struggled in a lot of areas in the first half but we were still in the game,” said OU head coach Sherri Coale. “I felt like we could win throughout, but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot with turnovers and missed free throws.”
The Sooner rally was ignited by a new starting second half lineup of freshman Jenna Plumley, freshman Amanda Thompson, senior Chelsi Welch, sophomore Ashley Paris and her sister, Courtney. That lineup was different from the starting five that opened the game. Seniors Erin Higgins and Leah Rush opened the game in place of Plumley and Thomson.
Plumley would play nearly the entire second half, in route to a career high 24 minutes played.
While she positively affected the Sooner offense with four assists and five points, she struggled defensively against A&M point guard Aquonesia Franklin, who scored 20 of her 25 points in the second half.
Franklin had 10 points in the final 6:36 of the game.
Starks also finished with 25 points to share game high honors with Franklin and Paris, who also grabbed 14 rebounds.
“That was a big part of the final outcome, they had two players score 25 points,” said OU head coach Sherri Coale. “Franklin showed tremendous leadership in the second half and put that team on her back.”
The loss drops the Sooners into third place in the Big 12. A&M owns a half game lead on Nebraska, who plays later this evening. It marks the first time OU has not been in first place in the Big 12 standings since the conclusion of the 2004-05 season.
OU had won 24 straight regular season Big 12 games before dropping three of its last four, including two to A&M. The Sooners other loss came to Texas, which travels to Norman in two days for a Big Monday contest on ESPN2 (6 p.m.).
Thompson also played a career high in minutes, 32, and scored in double figures for the first time in league play. The freshman forward had 13 points and six rebounds.
OU shot 48.1 percent from the field but just 57.1 percent at the free throw line and 18 percent from 3-point range. The Sooners turned the ball over 24 times, as opposed to A&M’s 15.
Paris collected her 50th consecutive double-double, which is the longest known streak in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. She also surpassed Molly McGuire (1980-83) for the OU career double-double record with her 55th in 58 career games.