Texas 64, Oklahoma State 53: Longhorns gain some momentum ahead of battle with Baylor
Those were three storylines worth noting after Texas took care of Oklahoma State at the Erwin Center on Wednesday night. With the 64-53 win, Texas avenged last month's 17-point loss in Stillwater. And Charli Collier became the 47th member of UT's 1,000-point club.
The evening was certainly a notable one for the Longhorns. But with No. 7 Baylor on deck, how long does Texas (14-5, 8-4 Big 12) get to celebrate?
"I would say about 20 more minutes," sophomore guard Celeste Taylor joked.
"Midnight," head coach Vic Schaefer later said.
As temperatures outside the Erwin Center dipped below 40 degrees, both teams struggled to warm up offensively. Oklahoma State led 13-11 after the first quarter but missed 10 of its 15 field goal attempts. Texas, meanwhile, was 4-for-17.
By halftime, Oklahoma State's shooting percentage had plummeted to 20.7%. At 34.4%, Texas wasn't faring much better. Still, the Longhorns led 30-17 at the intermission due to a scintillating second-session stretch by Collier, who scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in the second quarter.
With Natasha Mack, the nation's leading shot blocker and rebounder, sidelined for much of the quarter, Collier was successful on five of her seven shots. Two of those were 3-pointers. The junior forward also blocked three shots as Oklahoma State made one field goal and scored four total points.
"I thought her second quarter was very dominant, no question about it," Schaefer said.
Behind Taylor's 12 points and two steals, Texas further distanced itself in the third quarter. In the quarter's final seconds, Collier put back a miss by Taylor to give UT a 52-33 lead. Taylor then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and hit a buzzer-beating jumper.
"We don't stop playing, we are always playing hard," Taylor said. "Even if somebody misses a shot, our teammates are there to rebound. We're always hustling together."
With 28 points and 19 rebounds, Collier recorded her 14th double-double of the season. Taylor added 18 points and guard Joanne Allen-Taylor finished with 10.
Defensively, Texas abandoned its full-court press but forced 13 turnovers that led to 17 points. UT held Oklahoma State to a 35.7 shooting percentage, which was eight points below the Cowgirls' season average.
"We were great (on defense)," Collier said. "We had hands on the balls from the one position to the five. It was just great. We focused more on that and our offense took care of itself."
Collier exited the game with exactly 1,000 career points. She was recognized in a short ceremony. The draft-eligible junior then side-stepped a question about her future and a trade on Wednesday that saw the Dallas Wings acquire the top pick in the WNBA draft.
"I feel like right now, me as a player, I have to focus on this season, focus on winning and focus on the next game after next," Collier said. "I do know when the time comes at the end of season, I will sit down with my mom and coach Schaefer and we will for sure make a decision about that."
Texas will now turn its attention to a trip on Sunday to Baylor. The Lady Bears (15-2, 10-1) have won 22 of the last 23 games in their series with Texas.
Tip-ins: Oklahoma State (14-6, 10-4) was led by Mack's 16 points. An Oklahoma State spokesperson declined to divulge why she exited the game with 7:55 left in the second quarter and opened the second half in the locker room. ... Texas improved to 5-0 following losses. UT dropped an 81-75 decision to West Virginia last Saturday.