AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Late Sunday morning, Tiffany Jackson was getting pricked with acupuncture needles to soothe a sore left ankle.
By late afternoon, she was sitting on the Texas bench watching the Longhorns build an early lead against rival No. 13 Texas Tech.
With about nine minutes left before halftime, Jackson finally got in the game.
A smile on her face, Jackson shook off any lingering pain to score 14 points and grab 12 rebounds to lead the No. 17 Longhorns to a 64-43 win, a key victory in their pursuit of a third straight Big 12 title.
Afterward, Jackson retreated to the locker room for more treatment, leaving it to her coach and teammates to brag about her gutty performance.
"If you had seen her foot and ankle a couple of days ago, you would have doubted if she could play,'' said coach Jody Conradt. "Even at shoot-around this morning there was still some doubt.''
Jackson sat for the first 11 minutes because of a swollen membrane around the joint in her ankle. The condition flared up on Thursday. On Sunday she had her fifth double-double in eight games.
"It was totally her decision whether to play,'' Conradt said. "As most competitors do, she stepped up.''
So has Texas.
Almost written out of the league race a month ago, the Longhorns (15-7, 8-3) find themselves in a four-way tie for second, one game behind No. 8 Baylor.
The Texas win knocked the Lady Raiders (17-5, 8-3) out of a tie for first place. Tech hasn't won a Big 12 title since 1999.
And by winning Sunday, Texas avenged a 79-62 loss at Tech back on Jan. 12 when the Longhorns had reached the depth of their midseason struggles.
This one could have gone much the same way. Jackson was on the bench and senior point guard Jamie Carey struggled through a 1-of-15 shooting night in which she missed her first 14.
Texas made up for it with a swarming defense and bursts of scoring from other players that minute-by-minute kept stretching the lead.
Nina Norman scored 15 points before leaving the game with more than 13 minutes left with a sprained right ankle, and Heather Schreiber added 10 points.
Erin Grant led Texas Tech with 10 points. The Lady Raiders shot a miserable 27 percent from the field, including 0-12 from 3-point range.
Even with Jackson sitting down early, Texas opened up a 19-6 lead as Tech hit just two of its first 13 shots.
Annissa Hastings, who started in her place, snagged nine rebounds in the first half and Norman, the sparkplug of the offense with her quick bursts in transition, had 10 points as Texas built a 29-21 lead at the break.
"We got back on our heels too much and let them take it to us,'' said Tech coach Marsha Sharp.
Tech cut the lead to 31-25 before a 6-0 run behind baskets from Jackson, Norman and Schreiber put Texas back in control.
Norman hit a long 3-pointer just before the shot clock buzzer to make it 40-27, but she sprained her ankle when she landed on Grant's foot. She had to be carried off the court and didn't return until she came back to the bench on crutches with two minutes left.
Texas didn't miss a beat.
Coco Reed replaced Norman and hit Texas' next bucket with a short jumper in the lane. Jackson hit two tough shots in traffic, assisted on another with a nifty lob pass to Schreiber and the Longhorns led 48-29 with 10 minutes to play.
"They got a couple of pretty easy buckets in the paint. I thought that kind of broke our back a little bit,'' Sharp said.
"When somebody goes down, we have somebody who can step up. That's the type of team we have,'' Hastings said.
Jackson, whose spin move seemed a step slow with the sore ankle on offense, had to muscle her way through defenders for baskets. Defensively, she harassed Tech shooters in the post with four blocks and snatched up rebounds as Texas held the Lady Raiders to their lowest scoring output of the season.
Texas, which started 1-2 in league play, has four league games remaining, including a pivotal matchup Wednesday against No. 16 Kansas State, one of the four teams sitting in second place. No team has won the Big 12 with more than three losses and Texas has never won in Manhattan, Kan.
Tech, which lost to Baylor 52-49 at home, gets its rematch in the final game of the season March 3 in Waco.
"There's four or five big games left,'' Sharp said. "You can still control your own destiny.''
· The win moves Texas to 15-7 overall and is now 8-3 in the Big 12 ... The Longhorns are 7-2 in their last nine games
· This was Texas' 10th game of the year against a Top 25 opponent, and the Longhorns are 4-6 vs. the Top 25 ... Texas has faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation, as in this week's Sagarin RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), the Horns are ranked No. 16 overall in the RPI and the Texas strength of schedule is ranked No. 5 nationally
· UT sophomore Tiffany Jackson, playing just 21 minutes, notched her seventh double-double of the year (a team high) with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds ... It was Jackson's fourth double-double in the last seven games and her 14th career double-double
· Jackson was in double-figure scoring for the 20th time ... Senior forward Heather Schreiber (10 points) was in double-digit scoring for the 12th time and junior guard Nina Norman (game-high 15 points) was in double-figure scoring for the sixth time
· Senior forward Annissa Hastings grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds - one shy of tying her career best ... She became the second Longhorn to log double-digits in rebounds this year, as prior to today's game, only Tiffany Jackson had pulled down 10-plus rebounds
· This was the 72nd meeting between Texas and Texas Tech, a series led by the Longhorns, 52-20 ... Texas has faced Texas Tech more than any other opponent in history.
· Texas is now 11-1 at home to date (5-0 in Big 12 home games)
· At home, the Longhorns have won 25 straight against Big 12 foes, dating back to January of 2002
· Texas Tech's 43 points and 27 percent shooting accuracy were season lows for the Lady Raiders
· The 43 points scored by Texas Tech ties the lowest points in a game by Tech in the Texas-Texas Tech series (Texas won 55-43 on Mar. 2, 1986)
Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt
On the game in general...
"Defense defense! Let's count this as a team victory. This was as good a defensive effort as I've been involved in in a long time. I especially liked our effort since we didn't know about Tiffany (Jackson's) availability until right before the game. I thought we had a lot of energy from the start, and put pressure on the ball right away. We didn't allow them to look around and make easy passes. We haven't always been as diligent as we need to be with that, and it was great to see that effort today. I thought our rebounding was so very good. Rebounding is effort. It's been an area of concern for us, but when I look at the stat sheet, I see 21 offensive rebounds and 51 total. We look at that (those numbers) and see that our team worked hard today. I think this team is starting to figure themselves out. We can beat anyone if we buckle down and play defense. This is a smart group. They struggled to find themselves early. But after we beat Baylor here, and came back from a big deficit at Oklahoma, it's been a different team. Yes, the loss at Iowa State was a big disappointment, but how many people go into Ames and win? Hopefully we can go to Kansas State and get our first ever win there on Wednesday."
Singling out different Texas players...
"Walking to the media room today, I asked Jamie (Carey) if she's ever gone to the media room when she was 1-15 in shooting,and she said, 'Uh Coach, I don't think I ever was 1-for-15'! You know, some of our best offense today was off Jamie's misses. We got several putbacks on her misses and several offensive boards. Jamie, of course, did so many other things for us out there. Annissa (Hastings) was very strong in the post and on the boards, especially in the first half. In my mind, Coco (Reed) came off the bench, especially after Nina (Norman) went down with her ankle injury, and made some huge plays for us to help us maintain the lead. And, Tiffany (Jackson) is a competitor. It was totally her decision as to whether she could play or not. If you saw her (left) ankle and foot the last few days, you wouldn't have thought there was a chance for her to play today. Our [athletic] training staff has worked non-stop with her. They use a lot of different techniques and specialists in the area to help us with our injured athletes. There are lots of non-traditional medical practices, such as acupuncture which we use with athletes and what we used with Tiffany, to get them ready to play. At shootaround today, there was still a question as to whether she could play. Tiffany stepped up and helped us. This wasn't her typical game but she gave us enough to win."
Senior F Annissa Hastings (season-high 10 rebounds, three points, two blocks)
Talking about UT's run in the first half and the start she got in place of Jackson....
"We watched a lot of film on our game up there (in Lubbock). We weren't happy seeing them shoot a lot of layups. Our guards did great job of defending Erin Grant and Alesha (Robertson). All around, it was a good defensive effort. We have a lot of great players. When someone goes down unexpectedly, we have people step up. I didn't know I was starting until six minutes before the game when we came into the locker room and I saw it on board and said, 'OK'. That's the kind of team we have - anyone can step up and play."
Senior G Jamie Carey
On whether or not she struggled to block out her offensive performance during the game...
"Yes, I expected this question. A big part of my game is my shot. But, I've never wanted to be a one-dimensional player. It would have been nice to hit one or two today. But, I just focused on guarding Erin Grant and keeping our team together on the floor. Heather (Schreiber), Annissa and Tiffany were doing a good job down there rebounding. I just tried to keep the team together today. This was more about that than my shot not falling. I was just really excited for our team and excited that our defense was working so well. That's more important than if I shoot 1-for-15 or 15-for-15."
Junior G Coco Reed (9 points, 3 rebounds off bench)
About her performance...
"We had so much energy today, and we fed off of each other. We knew we had to play great defense - at their house (Lubbock), our guards did not play well. I've had this game on my mind for a long time and wanted to come out and play well. And, when I was out there, I was thinking about what Coach (Conradt) said to me at shootaround today - be aggressive and take more shots. When Nina went down, I had those words in the back of my mind - to get going and shoot."
Texas Tech Head Coach Marsha Sharp
Her general thoughts on the game...
"This is a very difficult conference to go through. Having the right mentality and having the ability to steal some games on the road will determine who wins this league. Give lots of credit to Texas for taking things away from us. They played very well. They were so much more aggressive today than (they were) in Lubbock. When I watched Nina Norman recently on film, I saw that she was much more aggressive than she was in Lubbock. She brought it to us. She set the tone for how quickly they were going to try and bring it to us. It was such a defensive battle. There were lots of missed shots - I believed it was anyone's game until the 10-minute mark in the second half. I thought if we could get back-to-back possessions, we'd be in it, but then they got a couple of easy buckets in the paint and it kind of broke our back a bit."
With Tiffany Jackson out for the first 11 minutes of the game, did it change the flow...
"We knew she wasn't in for warmups and that Hastings was gong to start. Hastings is athletic like Jackson. Jackson is more of a scorer and without her, they let everyone be involved early in the game. When Tiffany came in she played well and took it to us on the block a little bit. It solidified their offensive attack a little bit more when she was in."