With 37 seconds left on the game clock and a 1-point OU deficit, junior guard Taylor Robertson sank her seventh 3-pointer of the night to give the Sooners a 73-72 lead over Texas Tech.
But that wasn’t the first time Robertson delivered for Oklahoma on Wednesday night in Lubbock, Texas. With OU down, 5-0, within the first two minutes of the first quarter, she hit her first 3-pointer of the game.
Then, with 1:54 left on the clock and OU down by 6, senior forward Mandy Simpson handed the ball to Robertson at the 3-point line, and she nailed the shot to place the Sooners in a one-score game.
Hitting the first field goal and last field goal for the Sooners (4-5, 1-3 Big 12) in their 75-74 comeback victory over the Red Raiders (6-4, 1-3), Robertson’s 24 points and seven 3-pointers fueled the team offensively. Collectively, the squad had four players with double-figures and had 11 made 3s as the Sooners claimed their first conference win of the season.
“T-Rob was incredible,” Sooners head coach Sherri Coale said. “Robertson never thought we were going to lose this game. Even when we got down, she’s smiling in the huddle, (and saying) ‘Guys, we’re gonna win this game.’”
Trailing by 1 with eight seconds left, tensions rose when Simpson was fouled and pranced to the free-throw line. Without hesitation, she quickly released the two free throws and made both, putting the Sooners ahead by 1. Simpson finished the night with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting and eight rebounds.
“In that stretch where we had caught up, (Simpson) is jumping higher than I’ve ever seen her jump in my life, on the ball, trying to obstruct vision,” Coale said. “I just applaud her courage and her bravado, and stepping to the line and saying, ‘I’m gonna do this for my team.’”
With time expiring and the Red Raiders having possession, Oklahoma’s defense was in need of a stop after Simpson’s makes. Sophomore guard Gabby Gregory provided, as she rebounded the Red Raiders’ missed 2-point attempt. Gregory held the ball to run out the clock, and the Sooners rushed the court to celebrate.
Gregory walked off the court with 16 points and with a commendable defensive performance as she slowed down the Red Raiders’ leading scorer, senior guard Vivian Gray.
“(Gregory) will be the unsung hero of this one,” Coale said. “Battling for 40 minutes and having to guard (Gray) for most of that. … Gregory’s resiliency is special and I’m glad she’s on our team.”
The contest wasn't as intense throughout as it was in the final minutes. Before halftime, the Sooners held a 9-point advantage over the Red Raiders. Despite the lead, Texas Tech came out of the locker room and reclaimed its early lead, even taking a 9-point lead in the final quarter, before a series of OU answers was capped by Robertson’s lead-changing make.
The third quarter was a scoring drought for the Sooners as they only added 8 points, but the period paved the way for them to stir up a last-minute rally. Collectively, the Sooners hoisted five steals and forced 10 turnovers on the night, and kept the Red Raiders close in preparation for a fourth-quarter surge.
“I don’t know (if) I’ve ever seen us as cold as we were in the third quarter,” Coale said. “(It was) the best thing that could have happened to our team because we had to win with defense.
“I think the biggest takeaway defensively is just our collective resolve late in the game to get stops when we had to get them. I give them all the credit for changing their intensity level and directing that belief into making something happen.”
OU will be back in Norman at 3 p.m. Saturday to clash with TCU (5-4, 0-4) on FOX Sports Oklahoma.