DALLAS — The Oklahoma women played their worst half of the season before turning around and playing their best Saturday night at the Big 12 women’s tournament.
It was just enough.
In a game that had to be seen to be believed, the Sooners came from 19 points down at the half and 22 down early in the second, to claim a 65-64 triumph over West Virginia.
Sharane Campbell was fouled going in for a layup with 5.5 seconds remaining. Sent to the free-throw line, she missed the first and made the second.
It stood up.
Mountaineer guard Bria Holmes had a reasonable look for a corner 3-pointer as time ran out but was wide right.
As it bounced away, the Sooner bench swarmed the court liked OU had claimed its first conference tourney crown since 2007. That, though, will require two more victories, beginning with today’s 3:30 p.m. tip against Iowa State.
The Sooners may be their own inspiration after staging the biggest comeback in Big 12 tourney history and the program’s biggest comeback since it set an NCAA record rallying past Cal on Dec. 13, 2008 after trailing 52-26 at the half.
“I told them we had been down 27 at the half and come back and won,” said OU coach Sherri Coale, a point long with her memory, “and there’s no reason we couldn’t.”
It looked like West Virginia would be the reason it couldn’t. After OU scored the half’s first points, the Mountaineers followed with a 7-2 run to erect their biggest lead, 51-29, with 17:15 remaining.
Then OU went to work.
The Sooners scored on eight of their next 10 possessions while stiffening up defensively to climb within 53-45 on an Ellenberg 3-pointer.
They came up empty on their next two trips, but so did the Mountaineers. Then came a 7-of-8-trip scoring binge that handed OU its first lead, 60-58, since 11 1/2 minutes remained in the first half. Sharane Campbell made it happen with two free throws with 5:09 remaining.