NORMAN — However tempting, don’t stick a fork in the Oklahoma women just yet. Though it may not be clear exactly how, the Sooners knocked off Red River rival Texas 64-63 Wednesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Considered a must-win if OU is to reach the NCAA tournament on the strength of its regular season, the victory was made to happen without leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg for the entire 40 minutes, and without post Kaylon Williams for the final 5:46.
Ellenberg continues to recover from a concussion suffered against Oklahoma State; Williams suffered a right knee injury, of which the severity is unclear, though OU coach Sherri Coale said it was not a season-ending ACL tear.
“I’m not very often at a loss for words, but I’m not sure I have a lot right now,” Coale said. “I thought it was a very gutsy effort by our team.”
What Ellenberg and Williams’ unavailability did was create a wider berth for senior point guard Morgan Hook to play the hero.
First, she tied the game with a driving layup that caught the Longhorn defense completely off guard. Better, it came early enough in the shot clock to make certain OU would get the ball back.
Second, after Texas failed to convert, she challenged 6-foot-8 Longhorn center Imani-McGee Stafford, the sister of Denver Nugget center JaVale McGee, drawing a foul at the rim with 4 seconds remaining.
“I knew I had to create a different way of trying to get to the rim and get a foul or get it over her,” Hook said, “instead of just going with a normal left-handed layup.”
Hook made the first, the game’s final point, and missed the second.
Texas moved the ball past mid-court off the miss but Nneka Enemkpali failed to get her driving layup attempt off before the buzzer.