March 12, 2003
DALLAS, Texas - Cold-shooting Oklahoma dug a big hole, then almost rallied for the win before bowing to Colorado in the second round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament, 73-68. Tera Bjorklund poured in 32 points to lead the Buffaloes who now advance to meet Texas.
The Sooners got 16 points from Chelsi Welch and Dionnah Jackson, but could not overtake CU to advance.
Oklahoma trailed 31-24 at the half after hitting just 9-of-28 field goals. The team finished at 43% for the game but the number didn't tell the story.
"As poorly as we shot it at times, looking at the stats we shot (43%) on the game," said OU head coach Sherri Coale. "We missed a lot of open shots. All that being said, we had a chance to win."
Oklahoma trailed by 15 points on five different occasions during the second half, including a 63-48 deficit with 5:04 remaining. That's when the Sooners mounted a furious rally.
Two three-pointers by Welch spurred the effort. Her second trey during that stretch cut the margin to six at 67-61 with 1:16 left.
Subsequently, the Sooners twice closed to within three points. Maria Villarroel's layup with 44 seconds remaining cut CU's lead to 69-66. Oklahoma had the ball with a chance to tie, but could not convert and then watched the Buffs nail their last four free throws to secure the victory.
Bjorklund's point total matched the Big 12 Tournament record.
"There wasn't much we could do about Bjorklund," Coale said. "It was hard to double on her. It was hard to run on the zone when they were shooting up from the three-point line."
Theresa Schuknecht had 15 points and seven rebounds for OU. Villarroel added 12 tallies for the Sooners
Colorado moved to 22-6 with the victory, while OU dropped to 19-12. The Sooners will now await the announcement of the NCAA Tournament field this Sunday. OU's Lloyd Noble Center is one of the host sites for the first and second rounds.