Jan. 19, 2000

By JIM VERTUNO
AP Sports Writer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Just when Texas' best shooter was heating up, No. 25 Oklahoma slammed the door on the Longhorns with defense.

Caton Hill scored 20 points, including the go-ahead layup with 1:26 to play, and the Sooners (14-3, 4-0 Big 12) held Texas scoreless over the final three minutes for a 76-73 victory Wednesday night.

Freshman Alisha Sare had given Texas (11-6, 3-2 Big 12) a 73-72 lead with 3:11 to play on her fourth straight 3-pointer but then went to the bench in a defensive substitution by Texas coach Jody Conradt.

The Longhorns never scored again.

"Sare has crazy range, she was really heating up. We were lucky she came out of the game. It helped us out a lot," said Phylesha Whaley, who scored 15 for the Sooners.

It also helped that Oklahoma increased its defensive pressure. The Sooners, who had their own struggles offensively with 26 turnovers, stretched the defense to cut off the outside shot.

Given a 74-73 lead on Hill's layup, Oklahoma then forced a shot clock violation.

Oklahoma's Stacey Dales missed two foul shots with 13 seconds left, but made up for it by drawing a charging foul on Texas forward Edwina Brown, who had 22 points.

Brown, who tried to shake three Sooners defenders in the lane, was whistled as she spun into Dales.

"Stacey did a great job taking the charge, but it was our defense that funneled Brown right to her," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said.

The Sooners' LaNeishea Caufield was fouled on the inbounds pass and made two free throws with six seconds remaining.

Neither team led by more than six points and there were seven lead changes in the last six minutes.

Texas took a 61-56 lead on Asha Hill's 3-pointer to start a flurry of baskets. Sare, 0-for-5 on 3-pointers until then, hit four straight and Oklahoma's Hill scored nine of the Sooners' last 18 points.

Brown, who was left holding the ball when the Longhorns ran out of time on the 30-second clock in the final minute, also lobbed a crosscourt pass on Texas' last possession that was intercepted by Dales.

"This was the most intense game I've ever played," said Sare, who finished with 20 points. "We just didn't get it done down the stretch."

Jadrea Seeley added 15 points for Oklahoma, which played its first game as a ranked team in four years.

Texas, which shot 41 percent from the floor, got just 11-of-32 shooting from players other than Brown and Sare. That lack of production hampered the Longhorns in the final minutes when the Sooners prevented those two from taking open shots. Oklahoma also outrebounded Texas 44-30 with Hill grabbing 13.

"We have to have more inside play. Every key basket, Alisha or Edwina has taken those shots," Conradt said.

"Our team expects the ball to be in the hands of those two players."