Danielle Robinson scored 19 points and Carlee Roethlisberger added 18 to lead No. 21 Oklahoma to a 71-69 victory Wednesday night to set up a meeting with Texas A&M. Last year, the Sooners (21-10) reached the tournament championship game, only to be turned back by the Aggies.
Texas A&M cruised past Texas 77-50 earlier Wednesday.
"We think A&M is a great team,'' Robinson said. "(Danielle) Adams has played really well against us. We're coming into the game with momentum and so are they.''
But, the third-seeded Sooners barely made it to the semifinals. Leading by two in the final seconds, the Sooners defended a drive by Chynna Brown and came away with the ball to preserve the win.
Through two rounds, the tournament has gone exactly according to form, with the higher-seeded team winning each game. But the Sooners gave coach Sherri Coale more than a few anxious moments.
"We have every chance to put the game away and we weren't able to,'' Coale said. "Finally, something good did happen right at the end.''
The Lady Raiders (22-10) were down 71-66 when Casey Morris hit a 3-pointer at the 46-second mark. The Sooners had a chance to seal the game when Aaryn Ellenberg came up with a steal, but Ellenberg missed an open transition layup.
That gave the Lady Raiders one final chance to tie or win the game on their final possession, but the Sooners' defense held firm.
Texas Tech scored just three points over the final 5:24 after taking a 66-64 lead.
"I don't think it was a lack of effort,'' Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said. "I think, at times, the kids were maybe trying too hard and going too fast.''
The big offensive night by Roethlisberger as a scoring complement to the dynamic Robinson gives Oklahoma optimism heading into the semifinals.
"With about 3 minutes left, I looked up and saw that I had 18 points,'' Roethlisberger said. "I had no idea.''
Whitney Hand played a solid all-around game for the Sooners with eight rebounds and seven assists, while Nicole Griffin had 11 rebounds.
"Rebounds give life,'' Griffin said. "It's something I can bring to the team and it's going to be a factor against A&M.''
The Sooners were 0-2 against A&M during the regular season, but the game in Norman was just a two-point loss.
"We know what it's like to be right there with them,'' Robinson said.
Monique Smalls scored 15 points to lead the Lady Raiders, who'll turn their attention to the NCAA tournament.
"This is not the end,'' Smalls said. "We're still playing. We've got the NCAA tournament and that's what we're look forward to right now.''