AUSTIN, Texas -- Morenike Atunrase scored 15 points and No. 24 Texas A&M used a 28-0 run over 10 minutes in the first half to blow past rival Texas 73-53 Wednesday night, snapping the Longhorns' 31-game, Big 12 home winning streak.
A'Quonesia Franklin added 13 points for Texas A&M (18-5, 7-3), which won for just the third time in Austin in series history and the first time since 1995.
The Aggies came in ranked for the first time since winning the old Southwest Conference tournament in March 1996.
The Longhorns (12-9, 6-5) played without leading scorer Tiffany Jackson, who missed the game with a sprained right ankle. It was the first game the junior center, a third-team All-American last season, missed in her career.
Erika Arriaran and Niña Norman each scored 14 for Texas.
Texas led 15-14 with 12 minutes left in the first when the Aggies started their game-changing run behind two layups from Franklin and Erica Roy. Franklin scored again when she stole a pass and streaked to the other end for another easy basket.
The Longhorns looked lost without Jackson, their floor leader who averages 14.4 points.
Without her presence under the basket, the Aggies concentrated on shutting down the Longhorns' shooters with aggressive perimeter defense. During the scoreless stretch, Texas missed 11 straight shots and committed seven turnovers, several of which led to easy A&M layups.
Texas A&M outscored Texas 24-4 in the paint 16-0 off turnovers in building a 47-20 halftime lead.
The Longhorns managed to get the lead under 20 with 10 minutes left in the second when Erneisha Bailey hit a layup that cut it to 59-40. The Aggies quickly snuffed any hopes of a rally when Franklin and Atunrase hit consecutive 3-pointers from the corners.
· The Longhorns are 6-3 in their last nine games
· Freshman guard Erika Arriaran (14 points) was in double-figure scoring for the 14th time - second most on the squad behind Tiffany Jackson's 18 games in double-figure scoring ... Senior guard Nina Norman (14 points) hit double-digit scoring for the 12th time.
· Norman now has collected 973 points, and needs just 27 points to reach the 1,000-point career milestone
· Texas' 31-game conference homecourt win streak was stopped with the loss... The streak dated back to the 2001-02 season ... Prior to tonight's loss, UT's last Big 12 loss at home was to Kansas State on Jan. 30, 2001 when the No. 9 Wildcats posted an 80-76 double OT win over the No. 14 Horns ... To date this year, Texas is 8-3 at home
· This is the second-longest rivalry in terms of games played in Texas basketball history... This was the 68th game in the series... Texas leads the series, 57-11, and had its seven-game win streak against the Aggies snapped ... Texas is 14-2 against the Aggies dating back to the 1998-99 campaign.
· This is the second year of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown rivalry series between these two schools ... Texas won both games last year.
· Texas A&M is now 3-27 all-time in games played in Austin... The last Aggie win in Austin was on Feb. 11, 1995 (a 86-79 victory)
· Against Top 25 opponents this year, the Longhorns stand 1-6 (1-3 in Big 12 action) ... The next two Texas opponents are top 10 ranked Connecticut (No. 4, on Sunday, Feb. 12) and No. 9 Oklahoma (Wednesday, Feb. 15).
Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt
Her general thoughts on the game and the status of the UT team: Tonight, A&M had a frantic pace of play and a lack of turnovers. They really shot very well. In the second half, I was pleased with our effort and how much fight we showed. We didn't quit and were cohesive, something we haven't always seen this year.
A&M has really good players who put the ball on the floor well and get to the rim. And, when they do that, we have got to get back on defensive side. Look at the stats for points off turnovers and fast break points. We gave up 33 points without getting back on defense. We are not getting back in transition "D" or when we turn the ball over. To me, that was the key for the game. They were opportunistic, exploiting our weaknesses in not getting back. A&M shot 60 percent in the first half. In the second, we were working in a zone and they didn't shoot as well against that. And, in the second half, we shot 56 percent and they cool off, but then, we were in such a hole that we could not get out of it.
Right now, it is about connection and chemistry. The team really likes each other, but hasn't figured out how to get connected on the court. Look at Nina (Norman), for instance. Until this year, she has never been the lead guard for us and she has started for four years. She has a soft voice, and doesn't like to get mad at others, so her being a leader has been a real struggle for her. They are all trying, but you have to have impetus on both ends of the floor to come from the guard spot. For three years, Nina was able to play her game -- now she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. At least tonight, she was moving with that weight [on her].
On Texas' rugged schedule all year long, and with the games coming up against No. 4 Connecticut and No. 9 Oklahoma: I could have scheduled more wins for this team. But, this is not the team we projected to have on the floor when we started this year. There are too many injuries. When we put the schedule together, we didn't' know who was not going to be available. It is as it is. It is tough right now. I talk every year about the unbalanced schedule in the Big 12 - we were second in the North (standings) a few weeks ago, right? And now we have none of those teams left to play. It is really tough from here on out.
Freshman guard Erika Arriaran
On UT's game plan without leading scorer and rebounder Tiffany Jackson (out with a right ankle injury): It was a huge factor without her. But really, we had the same game plan in terms of what each of us could contribute tonight without Tiffany, because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses and we cannot be expected to do things tonight that we cannot do. We all were committed to working harder out there without Tiffany. The problem was that we knew Texas A&M was going to run against us, and when a team does that like they did, you want the control back. But, I think we just caught up in their momentum, especially in the first half. We didn't relax. We got sucked up into their game and didn't control ourselves well and get our chemistry flowing again. If we had done that, I think we would have been fine.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
Opening statement: Well, you saw out there that three times we shot the ball, and three times that ball rolls over the rim and goes in. We had some lucky bounces out there, but we played well. We didn't start off good, giving Erika (Arriaran) a quick three. She has one of prettiest shots in the country. Then, we got better and did a good job against them in the first half.
In the second half, they were down by 27, but we were not taking them lightly. We were trying to score. Their zone was pretty good. We had some trouble with it. We could not get anything off of Number 51 (Daria Mieloszynska) in their zone.
Remember, tonight we beat a program which is injured. Tonight, however, in the first half, we could have beaten a lot of teams I've been playing Jody since 1980, and this is my first victory as a head coach against her. It means a lot because I beat the program which has been the blueprint for us all to follow.
What make the differences in the game: The turnover battle - we won again. Even on the boards, we were even with them, and that was huge for us since we were mainly playing a small lineup. We got easy baskets by pushing the ball in the first half, and the numbers tell you what you need to know. Look at them. Points in the paint, 34 to 16. Fastbreak points, 12 to nothing. Points off turnovers, 21-11. It was 33-10 scoring from the bench. Those four stats are the story of the ball game. We will take it.
But remember, we played without Jackson out there. All our preparation was for Jackson to play. Hopefully, she will be back for Connecticut on Sunday. The best in our league need to be back on the court when we go on the national scale and face teams like Connecticut. She is the heart and soul of their team. She can do it all out there. She'll be back when they come to College Station and they'll be a completely different team.