AUSTIN, Texas -- Senior Daria Mieloszynska had a career night, scoring a career-high and game-high 18 points on a career-best six-for-11 from 3-point range, to lift The University of Texas to an 80-50 women's basketball Big 12 victory over Iowa State Wednesday at the Frank Erwin Center. Texas broke out of a scoring slump, scoring 15 points above its season average of 65.1 ppg as the Longhorns posted their biggest margin of victory this year.
The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Texas, now 7-6 overall. Texas, which fell out of the national polls this week for the first time in 81 weeks (dating back to November of 2001), picked up its first Big 12 win as well in three tries to date. Iowa State, which committed 30 turnovers, falls to 10-4, 1-2.
Mieloszynska had entered the game averaging 2.7 points per game, and was just 1-for-14 from 3-point range. She was joined in double figure scoring by three other Longhorns. Senior guard Nina Norman added 16 points, freshman guard Erika Arriaran had 11, and junior post Tiffany Jackson just missed the first triple-double of her career, finishing with 10 points, a career-high 17 rebounds, and a season-best eight steals. Jackson also had a game-high five assists.
The win also moved Texas head coach Jody Conradt into a tie for the No. 3 position in all-time college basketball victories (men's or women's). Conradt is tied with the late and legendary men's coach Adolph Rupp with 876 career wins. Conradt is now three victories away from tying another coaching legend - Dean Smith - for the No. 2 spot in all-time college victories.
ISU entered the game as the nation's No. 4 ranked team in field goal percentage defense, limiting the opposition to 33.2 percent shooting. Texas finished the contest shooting 46.5 percent, making 33 of 71 field goals attempted. The Cyclones hit 42 percent of their shots (20-48), including eight 3-pointers. UT finished with a season-high 7-for-15 effort from 3-point range.
Up by one, 27-26 with 6:02 left in the first half, the Longhorns went on a 16-2 run to close out the period, fueled by Mieloszynska's three 3-pointers and three steals down the stretch. Texas led at intermission, 43-28. The Longhorns opened the second half with a 26-8 run in the opening 11 minutes, and led by 33, 69-36 on two Jackson free throws with 9:20 left.
That big Texas run saw Jackson with five rebounds, two assists, a block and four steals in the opening minutes of the second half, while Arriaran netted nine points and had a steal.
In that 26-8 run, ISU hit three of its first four shots but turned the ball over 14 times and missed five shots in a row in that span.
For the game, Texas held a commanding edge in points off turnovers, scoring 37 points off ISU turnovers while the Cyclones had only 12 points off UT turnovers. The Longhorns finished the game with 16 turnovers, and had 20 steals to ISU's nine thefts. UT controlled the boards, out-rebounding the Cyclones 39-30.
Texas had jumped out to its commanding 43-28 halftime lead, thanks to Mieloszynska and Norman, who each had 12 points in the first half. UT shot 48 percent from the floor in the first period, hitting 19 of 40 field goal attempts. ISU made 41 percent of its first-half shots (11-27), but turned the ball over 13 times to UT's five turnovers.
The win also extends UT's home-court Big 12 win streak to 28 games. The Longhorns have not lost a league game at the Erwin Center in three-plus years.
The Longhorns return to action on Saturday, Jan. 14 when they host No. 24 Missouri in a 7 p.m. non-televised game at the Erwin Center. UT will be looking for its first win in five tries against a Top 25 opponent this year.
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Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt
Her general opening statement: That was a much better effort, wasn't it? That's what I am most happy with. All week, we've talked about being competitive. That's the bottom line. If you are, you have a change to win. It all starts with defense. We were focused and competitive, and that's what we've been looking for. In practice, we did some drills where the boundaries were the walls - our theme has been, let's just play, let's keep playing.
I am really happy for Daria (Mieloszynska) tonight. Daria is 1-for-14 from 3-point range coming into tonight. She was deadly tonight. I asked her earlier this season to play inside for us, because of the injuries. So, she moved from the outside to the post. In practice this week, I told her I was going to move her back out(side). She was so happy to get out of the post. She really was free and played really well. How she played made a huge difference for us.
Iowa State is a zone team. We expected them to junk some and they did. I thought we showed some really good patience tonight. Bill (Coach Bill Fennelly) does such a great job with his team every year. They can really rain the three's. He lost a lot of players like we did from last year. They came in really ready to shoot. There is no team harder to defend in our conference than Iowa State. They will be competitive, game in and game out. We are vey happy to only play them once a year.
On Tiffany Jackson being triple-teamed and how to respond to that: That's been pretty standard all year long with our opponent. They all are focusing on her. Tiffany never gets an open look - except for when she steals and (makes) layups. We haven't responded as well as we need to around her. This year, it's been our tendency to watch Tiffany when she gets the ball. It's fun to watch, but we've gotten in trouble with it. When you hit the 3's like Daria did and you are a threat like Erika, it opens up everyone on the court.
On the win bringing Conradt into a tie for No. 3 all-time in college victories with legendary men's coach Adolph Rupp: You know, that's something that's never once been on my mind, to be honest. Something I don't pay attention to. As a team, we've been focused on getting it turned around, playing to the Texas standard. We've said, let's be a factor in the conference race. That's what been on my mind. We have not performed to level we need to. You forget the wins quicker than you forget the losses. We have had two weeks of hard work, and it is paying off. We are in the "perfect storm" right now - with a tough schedule, too many injuries, too many road games. But, no one wants to hear about excuses.
Texas Senior G Daria Mieloszynska
On her game (career highs in points and 3-pointers made with 6): I think most of the time they (opponents) get off of me because, like Coach said, I've not shot well from the 3-point line. They had a little bit of disrespect for me, probably because my percentage has been bad. That left me open a lot and tonight my shots went in. I was happy to have this night and contribute.
Texas Senior G Nina Norman
On how Texas was able to break open the game: At the beginning, we went inside to the post a lot, or at least tried to. Once we started to open up the game, and started hitting from the outside, that really helped us. Also, the last few games we've not done a good job of pushing the ball up the floor. Just pushing the ball is the hardest thing to guard. Tonight, we pushed the ball, and getting easy baskets like we did off layups is the best thing we could do. We got them on their heels after awhile, and they didn't get to the boards as much after that. We have not been running like we should the last few games, and tonight we did.
Iowa State Head Coach Bill Fennelly
His general statement on the game: I told our kids before we came here that we were probably about to play the most motivated team in the country. They are really well-coached. In order to play the Texas team we saw tonight, you have to have all hands on deck. And, we didn't. They played with a lot of energy, and you saw how we had all sorts of trouble taking care of the basketball. When you turn the ball over against Texas, it's a layup on the other end. That was the thing that set the tone from start to finish - our mishandling the ball and their transition game.
Iowa State's strategy coming in: Part of our thought was to get into a 3-point shooting contest. We knew Erika (Arriaran) was such a strong shooter, but we knew that Daria is 1-for-14 in 3's coming into the game. We cannot handle their inside game, so we wanted to pack it in. But, Daria made some shots and spread us out a bit. Again, we didn't get enough time to play half-court defense. They were stealing the ball and making layups. Texas is a team which will get better and better. I thought Jody had them ready to play, and that they played with a lot of energy. They played the way Texas teams have played in the past.
Now, we just get ready for another tough conference game. We have bright kids who understand what this game and league is all about. We need to go back and get ready for Nebraska on Saturday and put a good effort on the court for our fans.