No. 16/17 Women's Basketball falls in State Farm Lone Star Showdown to No. 11/7 Aggies, 68-54
Jan. 28, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Historically, the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry is heavily lopsided in the Longhorns' favor. The times are definitely changing.
Takia Starks scored 21 of her 26 points in the second half to lead No. 11 Texas A&M to a surprisingly one-sided 68-54 win over the No. 16 Longhorns on Wednesday night, the Aggies' sixth win in the last seven meetings.
The Aggies have just 16 victories in the rivalry, which dates back to 1975, but now have won four in a row. This one came with a fast start, a heavy dose of defense and the hot-shooting Starks.
"She was just flat on fire," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "I'm going to love this win, love the win and feel very lucky."
The Aggies raced to a 19-3 lead in the first half before the Longhorns fought their way back to within six in the final minute. A layup, a steal and a fastbreak basket at the buzzer put A&M up 38-28 at halftime.
Starks took over in the second half, scoring seven of the Aggies' first nine points as A&M quickly pushed the lead to 20. The Longhorns never threatened again.
"She single-handedly took it to us," said second-year Texas coach Gail Goestenkors, who has yet to beat the Aggies. "That was tough for us and we were just trying to play catch-up the rest of the way."
Starks had help. LaToya Micheaux grabbed 16 rebounds and Tanisha Smith scored 12 points for the Aggies (16-3, 4-2 Big 12), who shot 48 percent from the floor and outrebounded Texas 41-33.
"No one was putting a body on me, so I just decided to be a beast," Micheaux said.
Kathleen Nash scored 13 points to lead Texas (14-5, 2-3). The Longhorns forced 23 turnovers by the Aggies, but shot just 32 percent and went 17 of 32 from the free throw line. The Longhorns came in the game shooting 75 percent from the line.
Texas A&M made 7 of its first 10 shots while the Longhorns' guards were struggling to dribble and pass against the Aggies' aggressive defenders. Midway through the first half, Texas had nine turnovers and just four field goals.
The Longhorns scrapped their way back in the game when the Aggies started getting sloppy. Texas pulled within 34-28 before momentum quickly changed. The Aggies got a fast-break layup by Danielle Gant and another at the buzzer after Sydney Colson ripped a steal at midcourt and cruised in for the basket.
In the second half, Starks kept pumping in the points and the Longhorns couldn't do anything to stop her from driving to the basket or squirming into open space for jumpers. Even when the Longhorns had a hand in her face, she made shots.
Three more baskets by Sparks and a short jumper by Gant off a nifty pass over a Texas defender in the paint put A&M up 55-35 with 10 minutes to play.
"The second half has been my half the whole season," Starks said. "I come out aggressive and basically adapt to the defense."
Texas started the season 11-0, but the rugged Big 12 has been a tough dose of reality. The Longhorns have lost two in a row and face a tough road trip to No. 4 Baylor on Sunday.
"This league is not for sissies," Goestenkors said. "It's survival of the fittest. You've got to be mentally and physically tough."
On why Texas is getting out-rebounded: We're not committed enough to rebounding the basketball right now. It's something we've got to do a better job with. Our post players have not rebounded well in the last two games, so we've got to do a better job down low in particular.
On the reason for the Longhorns' poor free throw shooting tonight: I don't know. We shot free throws at Oklahoma pretty well, but in practice we have not been shooting the ball well. We've been putting in some extra time on our free throws, but for some reason it just seems like it's been contagious.
On how Texas cut the lead from 16 to six in the first half: I thought our defensive intensity was good at that point. We were putting really good pressure I thought on their perimeter players and which cause them to turn the ball over a little bit, so we were able to get some transition buckets.
On how tough it is to play in the Big 12: You've got to be mentally and physically tough. It's survival of the fittest. You don't have time to feel sorry for yourself or lick your wounds because you've got another great opponent right around the corner. You've got learn from your mistakes and quickly move on and get better.
SENIOR GUARD Carla Cortijo
On facing A&M's stingy defense: They were putting a lot of pressure on us. For me, when the guard was putting pressure on me, it was hard to pass the ball because she was all over me. It's hard to play teams like that.
SOPHOMORE Kathleen Nash
On whether UT's opponents are that much better or if the Horns are just going through a tough stretch: I wouldn't say they're that much better. We have been having good practices. We're playing tough against each other, but we just need transfer it over to the court when we get into the game.
FRESHMAN GUARD Ashleigh Fontenette
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
On their transition game tonight: I wanted to play faster, both on offense and defense. When we run our set plays, everybody knows our set plays and it takes perfect execution to make them work. What would win the game tonight were the broken plays coming from both teams. Texas was able to get a couple of second shots, but the broken plays are where you are able to score.
SENIOR GUARD TAKIA STARKS
On what Coach Blair told her at halftime: Coach told me that he was going to run me off of screens, and when I get the ball, he told me to create my own shot if I didn't have one. That's what I tried to do, but I have to get better from the free-throw line.
SOPHOMORE GUARD SYDNEY COLSON
On their intense defense: Before Baylor and Oklahoma State, we hadn't been as intense on defense as we have been in the past, and we knew that was something we had to get back to. We got a lot of fire and energy off of the turnovers we were getting and we converted better than we had in the past few games. I just think it gave us a tremendous spark and helped us finish the game out well and get the "W."
SENIOR CENTER LA TOYA MICHEAUX