Tyra White, Kelsey Bone team to lead Texas A&M past Oklahoma
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M knew starting Big 12 play 0-2 was unacceptable.
So when the Aggies (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) were down to Oklahoma at halftime on Sunday, they had to get it together quickly to avoid that fate.
They did. A&M beat Oklahoma 75-58 behind Tyra White's 20 points and 18 points from Kelsey Bone. The Aggies face archrival Texas on Wednesday.
"We couldn't take it," Bone said of starting 0-2. "We couldn't afford to go into Wednesday's game and the hoopla surrounding that game with two losses."
Texas A&M (10-3, 1-1 Big 12) led by six before using an 8-1 run to extend its lead to 62-49 with less than six minutes remaining.
Bone, in her first season with the Aggies after transferring from South Carolina and sitting out a year, had six straight points and a steal to lead the way during that span.
"She's a big, strong, talented kid and we did a good job keeping the ball out of her hands early and didn't late," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said of Bone.
Bone got a boost on Sunday by a pep talk from teammate Skylar Collins.
"I knew I had an advantage down low," Bone said. "Skylar Collins told me something that really resonated with me. She said: 'You should dominate.' I've always known that, but when you hear it from someone who is in the trenches with you it really rings true."
The win gets the defending national champion Aggies back on track after they dropped their Big 12 opener in overtime to Kansas State last Wednesday.
"We have been waiting to at least see that we can come back from losses," point guard Sydney Carter said. "It's nice to see that we can play at the level we know we can play at."
Oklahoma (9-4, 1-1), which had a six game winning streak snapped, was led by Aaryn Ellenberg who had 18 points and Whitney Hand with 17.
A&M shot just a bit better than Oklahoma, 46 to almost 45 percent, but the Sooners were done in by their 23 turnovers which the Aggies converted into 26 points. Ellenberg had six turnovers and DaShawn Harden had seven.
The Aggies also dominated in the paint with 44 points -- in large part because of the 6-foot-4 Bone.
"We got discombobulated defensively so we couldn't function offensively," Coale said. "Our offense bleeds into our defense. We could never get into synch, didn't have much composure and our point guards didn't handle that ball pressure very well."
Carter added 15 points and had five assists for A&M and Adaora Elonu chipped in 12 points and led the team with 10 rebounds. Bone also had four assists and four steals to help out.
Oklahoma trailed by seven midway through the second half before a 5-2 run fueled by a 3-pointer by Ellenberg cut the lead to 48-44, but the Sooners couldn't get any closer.
The Aggies used a 12-2 spurt at the beginning of the second half to erase a halftime deficit and take a 40-33 lead with about 15 minutes remaining. White led the way with six points in that span.
"Our defense was outstanding," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "We had a great start to the ball game and for once we had a great start to the second half."
Texas A&M scored the game's first nine points, but Oklahoma got going and used a 19-6 run to take a 19-15 lead seven minutes before halftime. Oklahoma led by 6 a minute before halftime, but A&M scored two quick baskets before a free throw by the Sooners to trail 31-28 at the break.
Sharane Campbell added 11 points and had a pair of steals for Oklahoma, which lost for the first time since a 69-66 loss to Fresno State on Dec. 8.
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