NORMAN — One step forward, one step back.
Following Oklahoma's 76-75 women's basketball loss to West Virginia on Thursday — when the Sooners blew a 12-point lead in the final 12 minutes — the preseason Big 12 Conference favorite is 6-6 in league play and seemingly incapable of establishing any game-to-game momentum.
The Sooners have alternated wins and losses over their last six games entering Sunday's Bedlam tilt in Stillwater.
“We are making steps in the right direction,” said senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg. “We are continuing to get better, and we just need to work on the end of the game and making plays when it really counts.”
Oklahoma (15-10 overall, 6-6 Big 12) led 44-33 at halftime and increased its lead to 14 two minutes into the second half on a Gioya Carter jumper.
But from that point on, the Mountaineers (21-3, 10-2 Big 12) fought their way back into the game as the Sooners missed free throws and watched Carter, center Nicole Griffin and forward Kaylon Williams foul out.
Oklahoma went 0-for-9 from the field with six missed layups over the final 6:42 of the game.
“We had multiple opportunities to stretch our lead and didn't,” said OU coach Sherri Coale. “Missed a bunch of really good looks.”
Oklahoma made 26 of its 38 free-throw attempts Thursday, missing six in the final 2:16 of the game while trying to cling to its lead.
“I thought we came out and fought from the beginning, but, down the stretch, we didn't make free throws and they did,” said senior point guard Morgan Hook. “We let them get to the line too many times and then we had our chances to seal the deal and couldn't convert on free throws.”
The Sooners trailed 76-74 with less than one second on the game clock when freshman guard T'ona Edwards drew a foul, made her first free-throw attempt and missed the second.
“It is easy to go back to those free throws, and the last kid standing on the line always feels the worst, but there were many before that and there were some in the first half,” Coale said. “In a one-point game there are a million things that you could point to that, had you done differently, the outcome would have been different.”
West Virginia sophomore guard Bria Holmes led all scorers with 19 points.
Ellenberg's 18 points led Oklahoma. She moved into second place on the program's career scoring list.