COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Sooners stand in agreement, admitting their loss to Texas A&M — and the loss of their Big 12-record win streak — was for the best.
Mostly, it was the way they lost, ugly and under pressure, that's deemed beneficial, revealing a weakness previously unexposed. A weakness of handling intense pressure, if left undetected and unattended to, could have caught up to them when it mattered most in the NCAA Tournament. "Before that game, we never truly put an emphasis on on-ball pressure,” said Oklahoma center Courtney Paris. "Nobody played us like that before.” Not everybody can, especially in the Big 12. But beyond, it's a trademark of top teams like Maryland and North Carolina and Duke and Tennessee. Now it's time to see what the No. 12-ranked OU women have learned, facing A&M in a Big 12 South rematch. Not — the Sooners are intent on proving — a replay. "We've got to apply the things we've learned,” Paris said, "and find out, ‘Have we gotten better?' "Let's go again, see what happens.” What happened the first time was telling. The Aggies rolled into Lloyd Noble Center and took it to the Sooners with a mugging style that produced a defensive game. With A&M harassing OU's guards and cutting off passing lanes to Paris, the Sooners committed a season-worst 28 turnovers and shot a season-low 32.7 percent from the floor. "Particularly for a team that relies on skill and cutting, it can be difficult to get any offensive cadence against that,” said Sooners coach Sherri Coale. "So it is kind of difficult to simulate and prepare for. "Bottom line is you just have to be tough enough to handle it and go score anyway.” Said point guard Kendra Moore: "Just be patient.
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Oklahoma at Texas A&M•When: 1 today •Where: Reed Arena, College Station •TV: FSN (Cox 37) •Radio: KOKC-AM 1520 Projected lineups
|Texas A&M (18-4, 8-2)|
|Oklahoma (18-3, 8-2)|