KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Oklahoma women's basketball team continued its win-one, lose-one trend in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.
If the Sooners don't end their seven-week habit next week, they'll lose in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
OU's up-and-down streak continued Friday afternoon when No. 8 Texas A&M posted an 81-68 win in front of an announced crowd of 4,852 at Municipal Auditorium.
"We had no opportunity to gain any traction in the second half of the Big 12 schedule," said OU coach Sherri Coale. "We couldn't quite get over that hump. That being said, the best thing about our team has been our resilience. We tend to bounce back and figure out a way to regroup and get better."
The Sooners haven't won back-to-back games since a five-game winning streak to start conference play that ended Jan. 26 with the first of three losses to A&M.
"We have to understand the sense of urgency that we'll be in the middle of next weekend," Coale said. "The great thing is, and I think it's great, is in the first, and hopefully the second game, we (won't) have to play anybody from the Big 12 South. That will be fabulous."
OU is 6-8 since late January. Six of the eight losses were to Big 12 South teams. Five were against top 10 powers Baylor and A&M.
"Let's blame the Big 12 computer (scheduling) system," Coale said, smiling. "But at some point, you've got to be good enough to beat somebody you're not supposed to beat so you can get some traction."
The Sooners didn't have traction last season. OU didn't win the Big 12 Tournament the past two years but made it to the Final Four both times. All-American senior point guard Danielle Robinson knows the NCAA Tournament defines a season.
"I think we're in a great spot," Robinson said. "We have enough confidence and enough leadership to get us to where we want to go. Even though we came up short here in Kansas City, we're about to start with a clean slate."
In Friday's loss, the Aggies (27-4) never trailed in the second half, even though their star center, Danielle Adams, was held in check with 16 points. She only had three points in the second half.
Texas A&M seized control with an 11-0 run midway through the second half when Adams was sitting on the bench with three fouls.
OU trailed by as many as 16 points. The Sooners closed to within 75-68 but would never get closer.
"The big thing is the NCAA Tournament is a new season," said OU senior Carlee Roethlisberger. "Now it's do or die. That can change people's mindsets. We can't afford to win one, lose one."
OU (21-11) has its most losses heading into the NCAA Tournament since 2005, which was the last time the Sooners were eliminated in the first round.
"Every time we've lost we've come back and learned something new," Roethlisberger said. "We've had a lot of opportunities to learn this season.”