Longhorns dominate paint in 77-62 win against Texas A&M
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Every time down the court, Tiffany Jackson was the first option for the Texas Longhorns.
It was easy to see why. Jackson hit her first nine shots while routinely posting up for easy layups to lead the No. 13 Longhorns to a 77-62 win Wednesday night over Texas A&M.
Jackson finished with 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. Texas outscored A&M 52-18 in the paint and held a 41-28 edge in rebounding.
"My guards just put me in great position," Jackson said. "It was basically just shoot a layup on every shot. They were giving me great passes that led to easy shots."
The two-time defending Big 12 champion Longhorns (13-6, 6-2) have won four in a row to jumpstart their season after a 2-2 beginning in conference play. Jackson has been at the center of the resurgence, scoring at least 22 points in each of the last three games.
"By the time her career is over, she might be the best who's ever played (at Texas), and there's been some good ones," said A&M coach Gary Blair.
Heather Schreiber and Jamie Carey added 13 points apiece for the Longhorns. Morenike Atunrase had 18 points for the Aggies (11-8, 2-7).
Jackson took control early. She hit all five of her shots in the first half and made four steals as the Longhorns built a 41-30 lead at the break. Her six rebounds nearly matched the eight the Aggies had as a team.
"She's agile. She's has power," Atunrase said. "That's what we're lacking."
The lead could have been much bigger. The Longhorns shot 58 percent in the first half, but the Aggies took advantage of a soft perimeter defense to hit five of seven 3-pointers.
The Aggies could do nothing to stop Jackson near the basket. Once she caught it, she was spinning or driving for shots from close range and was rarely challenged.
Jackson scored eight of the Longhorns' first 11 points of the second half as Texas stretched the lead to 52-34 to break the game open. Texas led by as many as 26 points after the break.
Texas started the season ranked No. 2 and Jackson, Schreiber and Carey all were among the top candidates for national player-of-year-honors.
But the trio has struggled to score on the same night. The Longhorns are 6-0 this season when all three score in double figures.
Carey hit a pair of 3-pointers and hit three free throws when she was fouled on another in the opening run of the second half.
Jackson has had little trouble scoring in bunches during the win streak, compared to earlier in the season when the Longhorns were just 9-6 and she appeared frustrated on the court.
"She's made so many adjustments," said Texas coach Jody Conradt. "Early on she was doing a lot of things with the basketball that weren't working out. Since that time, she's really become much more patient."
STATE FARM LONE STAR SHOWDOWN POSTGAME NOTES
It was good to be home tonight. We had a good crowd which got into it. We got a little lax on the defensive end and they took advantage of it. I liked that we controlled the boards. We turned the ball over 11 or 12 times in first half, which was disappointing. On the positive side, we got good production from the starters. I also liked how Daria (Mieloszynska) is starting to play for us off the bench. She is a hustler and we need that production off the bench.
Tiffany is really shooting well. She's made so many adjustments as we've moved through this part of the schedule. This year, everyone started to key on her and double and triple-team her. She has become much more patient and is letting the game come to her, as she describes it. She continues to be really effective for us inside."
On the next opponent: at No. 15 Iowa State...
Yet, as I told our team the other day, the conference championship is going to go through Texas, somehow or another. We have a chance to win it ourselves, but that will mean winning on the road in tough spots. This game tonight completed the first half of the conference for us. We are six and two. We cannot expect to lose two more games and expect to win the conference championship."
Texas Sophomore F Tiffany Jackson
Texas Senior G Jamie Carey
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
They were sagging off our point guard - she was one of the best 3-point shooters in high school last year. She can make it but is trying to adjust right now. Defensively inside, we got hammered. It was size as much as defensive mistakes. They did a great job of pinning and reversing the ball. They were very well prepared in doing that. They also did a good job of finishing, especially when the bench came in. (Annisa) Hastings did a good job, and was very active.
The shooting percentage goes up when you shoot from six inches, and that's where they were shooting from. Carey did the little things right and ran the team well. When she looks for her shot, watch out - she can really get going. As for Jackson - by the time her career is over she might be the best to ever play here (at Texas). As for Carey, she's a good one. Most people her size don't get a chance to play in the WNBA, but she'll play. She makes everyone better around her.
Everything is correctable. We recruited the freshmen because of their offense, not their defense. We;ve got to teach help defense better. We looked a little tired and they had more energy than we did. They were only rebounding with two - they were sending three back. That really hurt us, and they were flying out on the break. When the players asked me what to do, I told them we better try to pick up a few of our misses and put some back in - which we did in the second half.".