Women's Basketball stops Texas Tech, 59-47
AUSTIN, Texas -- Behind 17 points from redshirt freshman Earnesia Williams and a six-point, nine-rebound and career-high 13 assists from redshirt freshman point guard Carla Cortijo, the University of Texas posted a 59-47 Big 12 women's basketball victory over Texas Tech in the regular season home finale at the Erwin Center in front of 6,703 Saturday afternoon.
Texas used a 48.1 percent shooting effort -- the team's best shooting performance in six games -- en route to the victory which moves the Longhorns to 17-12 overall and to 6-9 in the Big 12. UT never trailed in the game, and there were no ties, as UT led from start to finish.
The Longhorns snap a five-game losing streak in the process. Texas and Texas Tech (15-14, 6-9) split the regular season home-and-home series, as Tech won in Lubbock (49-48) on Jan. 27.
Texas Tech was held to 33.3 percent shooting, as the Lady Raiders went 20-for-60 from the floor.
Williams shot eight-for-12 from the floor to lead the UT offense. Joining Williams in double-figure scoring was freshman guard Brittainey Raven (12 points) and senior forward Tiffany Jackson (10), who was playing in her final regular season home game. Jackson added nine rebounds, just missing her 11th double-double, while Cortijo just missed her first career double-double as she finished with nine boards as well. Cortijo's 13 assists were the most by a UT player since 2000.
The victory was the 899th career win for UT head coach Jody Conradt. There is only one collegiate coach -- men's or women's -- who has surpassed the 900-career plateau (Tennessee's Pat Summit who has 939 wins to date). Conradt's record, in this her 38th year of collegiate coaching, is 899-305.
After holding a 31-22 lead at the half, Texas saw the Lady Raiders chip away at the lead to begin the second half. Texas Tech got to within seven points twice, the last with 16:34 to play (37-30) following a Patrice Edwards layup.
Texas countered with a Raven 3-pointer from the wing on its next trip down the floor for a 40-30 edge before two free throws by Tech's Alesha Robertson brought Tech to within eight, 40-32 with 15:57 to go.
After that, the Longhorns went on an 11-0 run, triggered by six points and three rebounds from Jackson and led by 19, 51-32, with 8:46 to go.
In the final 8:46, Texas Tech would get no closer than 12 points.
Texas led by nine at intermission, 31-22, behind 13 points from Williams and Cortijo's four points and eight assists. In the first half, UT's biggest lead was nine points.
Texas Tech was led by 10 points from Edwards, who was the lone Lady Raider in double-digit scoring. Robertson was held to four points, 9.4 points below her average, but pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Both teams had 14 turnovers.
Texas controlled the boards, out-rebounding Tech 40-36. UT went seven-for-15 in free throws, while Texas Tech was five-for-11 from the line.
Texas closes out its regular season action on Wednesday, Feb. 28 when it travels to No. 16/18 Texas A&M for a 6 p.m. CT Big 12 contest in College Station. That game will air live on FSN (FOX Sports Net) national TV and will be broadcast throughout Central Texas on KVET Radio 1300 AM and via Internet audio.
The 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship tourney will follow the next week. The Big 12 Championship takes place Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, March 6-8 and 10, at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. Pairings and seedings for the 12-team women's tourney will be announced next Thursday, March 1, following the final night of Big 12 competition.
TEXAS TECH POSTGAME QUOTES
On the mood at halftime: Just try to stay positive is what we talked about. We talked about being in the same situation before. We talked about trying to go inside and said we were five possessions away from tying the game. We got within seven in the second half, and it seems we just couldn't get past that.
Give Texas credit. I want them to have the attention. They played well and they deserve it.
On getting into the NCAA Tournament: I think Texas and us are pretty similar right now. Texas is up by one on us. We still have a chance to get in, but I think we need two more wins to do it. I just hope we don't get penalized because our league is so tough. If we all finish 7-9 how can't you take six or seven teams from this league? You take care of your business and you win games and that is how you get in.
Senior post Patrice Edwards: We had a bad shooting game, but when they put pressure on you you have to do other things better like rebounding and getting stops. We just failed to do things today.
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
Our freshmen, particularly Carla and Earnesia (Williams), played well. Ashley Lindsey had some big plays for us and Katrina (Robinson) made a few baskets as well off the bench. Everyone chipped in. To have people come off the bench and contribute like Ashley and Niqky Hughes, that's so important right now. Niqky's energy is really important for us. When she's running the floor like she did today, no one is catching her.
You are always concerned when there are foul issues, and we staggered around a bit when Tiffany (Jackson) and E-Bay (Erneisha Bailey) picked up their third fouls. But, once we righted ourselves, which is not something we've done recently, we did a good job of maintaining our poise.
I want to thank our fans for coming out and giving such a warm response to both Tiffany and Katrina (Robinson) on Senior Day. They have watched one of the very best players in the country the last four years. I know that Tiffany's leadership and competitiveness will carry on with the young players we have in the program.
On the play of the Texas freshmen as of late: In particular, Carla (Cortijo) and Earnie Williams have been playing well. In the normal process of coming back after a year of inactivity, it takes time to get timing back and both of them struggled with their timing early this season. Lately, both have played well and we've seen that coming and have been waiting for it.
Earnie is one of our most consistent shooters, and she's worked hard on her shooting stroke, especially last year when all she could do was stand on the sidelines with her knee injury. She is such a consistent shooter and her range has really improved.
Texas Tech played a lot of zone. We've seen that recently and are adjusting to it. We were patient and moved the ball side to side well, thus creating opportunities. I complimented Carla before this game on her recent play. It has been really solid and consistent. We've asked her to do a lot while playing an incredible amount of minutes. Take a look at her minutes and how productive she's been.
On whether this win moves Texas closer to NCAA Championship consideration: I don't know. I don't think we can afford to look ahead with our group. We need to just focus in the moment. I told the team just that in the locker room, and I also told them that we can be the team that no one would want to play in the Big 12 Tournament in two weeks. We are capable of beating people. There's a possibility to get on a little roll. It's possible but it's counter-productive to talk about anything but our next game, which is on the road against a conference leader (Texas A&M). We hope to continue to play like this next week at Texas A&M.
Senior forward Tiffany Jackson
It's been a very emotional day for me, both sad and happy. I've really enjoyed my career and am happy to have come here. Texas has great fans, and I've played for a legend. I don't want to think that this is my last game at the Erwin Center.