With 17:15 remaining in the Big 12 women's tournament quarterfinals, the Oklahoma Sooners found themselves down 51-29 to West Virginia. After a rough season that saw four players go down with season-ending injuries, the Sooners were facing a stiff, uphill challenge to continue their preparation for the NCAA tournament.
There's a reason why they play all 40 minutes.
Sharane Campbell hit a free throw with 5.5 seconds remaining, capping a gutty performance and a stunning comeback as Oklahoma advanced in the Big 12 tournament, 65-64 over the Mountaineers in Dallas.
West Virginia had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but Bria Holmes' jumper clanked off the rim as the buzzer sounded, prompting a wild celebration on the court from the Sooners.
Tied at 64 with 50 seconds remaining, the Sooners turned the ball over on an offensive foul by Joanna McFarland. However, OU got the ball again with 26 seconds left on an offensive foul on WVU's Averee Fields. With nine seconds left, Campbell slipped away from her defender and had a clear shot at a layup, but was hammered by Crystal Leary, putting Campbell on the line to give OU an incredible win.
Campbell scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and seemingly had to pick herself off the floor after every possession, diving after loose balls. Several times, she was barely able to hobble to the OU huddle and one time even had to be carried there by her teammates.
Nicole Griffin led the Sooners with 16 points while Aaryn Ellenberg chipped in with 12 points.
Christal Caldwell led the Mountaineers with 22 points. Taylor Palmer had 11 as the only other WVU player in double figures.
It was a tale of two halves, as a tight, back-and-forth game became a West Virginia runaway before ultimately returning to a tight game the Sooners won.
The Sooners controlled the physical game early on, jumping out to a 10-3 lead on a Morgan Hook layup. West Virginia battled back, taking a 20-18 lead on a 3-pointer from Palmer. From there, the Mountaineers poured it on, draining eight 3-pointers in the first half to blow the game open with a 27-7 run. West Virginia led at the break 44-25.
The Sooners struggled mightily in the first half, hitting 1-of-14 from 3-point distance and shooting just 24 percent from the field.
After halftime, it appeared the Mountaineers wouldn't be denied as they extended their lead before the Sooners began to buckle down defensively and shots began to fall.
Amazingly, the Sooners made it a game again. When Joanna McFarland hit a 3-pointer with 8:02 remaining, the Sooners were within three at 55-52.
After a 3-pointer from Palmer, OU ripped off an 8-0 run to take its first lead since the first half, tying the game on an Ellenberg layup and taking a 60-58 lead after Ellenberg stole the WVU inbounds pass, was fouled, and hit both free throws.
Oklahoma advances to the semifinals where it will face Iowa State at 3:30 p.m. Iowa State swept the season series with the Sooners this season.