- Associated Press - Saturday, January 23, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Late in Texas’ game against Oklahoma Saturday, Longhorns center Imani Boyette committed a turnover. Then Boyette retreated on defense quickly enough to alter a layup attempt by the Sooners’ Gabbi Ortiz.

That’s the No. 6 Longhorns in a nutshell. They are often careless with the ball but play strong defense, anchored by the 6-foot-7 Boyette. That juxtapostion was good enough for an 83-76 victory over No. 19 Oklahoma.

Boyette, a senior, finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks. She appeared to block the layup by Ortiz as well but was not given credit. Boyette has double-doubles in seven of eight Big 12 games.

“Arguably the best center in the game right now,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said.

Texas (18-1, 7-1 Big 12) won despite a season-high 25 turnovers and a career-best 23 points by Oklahoma (13-5, 4-3) center Vionise Pierre-Louis. Pierre-Louis scored 16 more than her average, one reason that Boyette didn’t agree with Coale’s assessment.

Asked if she plays to that standard, Boyette said, “I’m flattered, but not at all. It’s cool to get seven blocked shots, but not cool when the person playing across from you gets (23) points.”

Empress Davenport also scored 18 points for Texas, which led by 14 in the third quarter. But she committed five turnovers, as did Boyette.

Texas ranks eighth in the Big 12 in turnovers.

“You would think that we don’t talk about it, but we do,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. “Some of them are from our (fast) style of play, but some are completely unforced. They don’t make good decisions sometimes.”

Aston said that she and her players are often in too big of a rush.

“I need to calm down,” Aston said. “I want to hurry up and score. We have recruited a lot of good basketball players and they all want to make a play. That’s not a terrible thing. We need to teach them.”

Oklahoma cut that 14-point deficit to four with a 7-0 push to finish the third quarter. Derica Wyatt made a 3-point basket with 33 seconds left on the Sooners’ third shot of a possession. Wyatt then stole a pass by Celina Rodrigo - her fourth turnover of the game - that led to two free throws by Peyton Little (16 points).

The Sooners trailed by three after Wyatt made a 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining in the game, but Texas responded with a breakaway layup by Brooke McCarty.

“They are very, very difficult to contend with because of their speed and athleticism on the perimeter and their size at the post,”Coale said. “I thought we made Texas play really well. We made them earn it.”

TIP-INS

Oklahoma: Texas held a pre-game ceremony for Sooners coach Sherri Coale, who was recently selected for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Former Longhorn coach Jody Conradt and current coach Karen Aston presented Coale, an avid golfer, with a Scotty Cameron putter. … Oklahoma is 0-3 against Top 25 teams. The Sooners lost to Texas A&M; and Baylor by six and 10 points. Last season, the Sooners defeated two Top 5 teams, including Texas.

Texas: The Longhorns received scoring contributions from reserves Lashann Higgs (11 points), Ariel Atkins (11) and Brooke McCarty (nine). . Senior Imani Boyette grabbed 11 rebounds and became the ninth player in Longhorn history to reach 900 for her career. Her former teammate, Nneka Enemkpali, suffered a season-ending knee injury as a senior in 2015 and finished her career with 899.

TEXAS SET FOR BENCHMARK

The Longhorns 83-76 victory over Oklahoma Saturday leaves them one short of joining four other schools with 1,000 wins all-time. The others are Tennessee (1,289), Louisiana Tech (1,067), James Madison (1,029) and Old Dominion (1,004).

“It’s a big deal,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. “We have the potential to pass some of those teams.”

UP NEXT

Oklahoma hosts West Virginia on Wednesday.

Texas hosts Kansas on Wednesday.

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