NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Everything was set up with the postseason in mind at North Little Rock’s Verizon Arena, the site of this season’s Southeastern Conference women’s tournament.
The two headliners lived up to the billing in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
Led by Empress Davenport’s layup with 4.2 seconds remaining, No. 3 Texas overcame an 11-point second-half deficit for a 67-65 win over No. 4 Texas A&M on Sunday.
Both teams had their share of runs in the back-and-forth affair, but it was the Longhorns (10-0) who had the final push in a battle of rivals and NCAA tournament hopefuls. In the end, it was Davenport who put the finishing touch on what’s become common place lately for the Longhorns — beating the Aggies.
“This was a ballgame that was good enough to be an NCAA Elite Eight game,” Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said.
The win was the fourth straight for Texas over its rival, and the 10 straight wins to open the season are the best start for the school since opening 11-0 in 2008.
Led by Nneka Enemkpali’s 21 points and 13 rebounds, as well as Davenport’s late playmaking, the Longhorns overcame a flurry of first-half turnovers to defeat their third top 10 opponent this season — following wins at Stanford and against Tennessee.
No. 1 South Carolina 84, Liberty 44: In Minneapolis, A’ja Wilson had 17 points and 10 rebounds and South Carolina (12-0) beat Liberty in the Subway Classic.
No. 2 Connecticut 86, UCLA 50: In Uncasville, Conn., Breanna Stewart scored 22 points to lead a balanced offense and UConn (8-1) won.
No. 5 Notre Dame 64, St. Joseph’s 50: In South Bend, Ind., freshman Brianna Turner scored 10 points in her return from a shoulder injury to help the Irish (11-1) win.
No. 6 North Carolina 85, Elon 67: In Myrtle Beach, S.C., Allisha Gray scored 20 points and Stephanie Mavunga added 10 points and 11 rebounds to help North Carolina (11-1).
No. 10 Louisville 70, No. 24 California 57: In Berkeley, Calif., Sara Hammond scored 10 of her 18 points in the second half and Louisville (11-1) won.
No. 13 Duke 89, No. 8 Kentucky 68: In Durham, N.C., freshman Azura Stevens scored 17 points as the Blue Devils (8-3) won big.
No. 19 Oklahoma State 66, USC 62: In Los Angeles, Liz Donohoe scored 21 points, Roshunda Johnson added 17 and Oklahoma State (9-1) rallied in the second half to win.
No. 23 Iowa 100, Drake 98: In Des Moines, Iowa, Samantha Logic scored on a contested drive with 3.2 seconds remaining to give the Hawkeyes (9-2) the victory.
Arizona State 88, Northwestern 75: In Tempe, Sophie Brunner had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Sun Devils (10-1).