Tiffany Jackson's 25 points help Texas bury Sooners
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas shook off a big scare to get a big win over rival Oklahoma.
Tiffany Jackson scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and No. 13 Texas overcame a frightening injury to guard Nina Norman to rout Oklahoma 72-36 on Saturday night.
Norman was carried off the court on a stretcher after Oklahoma's Chelsi Welch elbowed her in the head as the two scrambled for the ball midway through the first half.
Norman was taken to a hospital for tests but was released later in the night and returned to the arena after the game.
It was a happy ending to a scary 11 minutes that had paramedics scrambling to her side and the crowd of 8,214 on its feet in stunned silence.
Only in the huddle of Texas players was there a sense of relief that Norman was going to be OK.
"We knew she was going to be OK. She was talking to us, being her feisty self," said Texas' Jamie Carey. "That reassured us and helped us a lot."
Although she appeared motionless for several minutes when she first went down, Norman gave a "Hook 'em, Horns" gesture to the crowd as she was wheeled off the court.
Already stirred up by the emotions of a "Senior Night" send-off for Carey and five other Longhorns, Texas appeared angered and energized by Norman's injury.
"When Nina went down, it was very emotional for us," Jackson said. "We wanted to take all that emotion and put it on the court."
After Oklahoma took a brief 15-14 lead, Carey turned a steal into a layup, Jackson converted a three-point play and Texas took a 30-24 lead into halftime.
Texas stormed into the second with a 14-0 run that turned it into a rout. CoCo Reed got it started with a jumper, Heather Schreiber hit a 3-pointer and Jackson used an athletic move under the basket to put back a miss for a layup, giving Texas a 20-point lead.
"It became a track meet," said Texas coach Jody Conradt. "I don't think too many people can outrun us when we get it in high gear and get going."
Texas (19-7, 12-3 Big 12) got its second huge game from Jackson in the heated rivalry. She had 30 points and 16 rebounds in Texas' 83-71 overtime win earlier this season.
Dionnah Jackson scored 13 to lead Oklahoma (15-11, 7-8), which shot just 21 percent and became the third straight team to score under 50 against the Longhorns. The Sooners scored just 12 points in the second half.
"How do you do that?" said Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale. "How do good players do that?"
The Sooners crumbled under the onslaught, missing their first 11 shots of the half as the Longhorns kept building on the lead as Conradt left her starters in the game. Oklahoma was a dismal 4-of-30 shooting in the second half.
"They just started attacking us," Dionnah Jackson said. "We didn't hold our ground and we didn't come back at them."
The Longhorns have won 27 consecutive home games in the Big 12.
Texas team physician Mark Chassay said after the game Norman was "unresponsive" to paramedics for about 25 seconds after the injury.
Chassay said Norman felt "tenderness" in her spine but that she was cleared to be released after undergoing several tests. She returned to the Frank Erwin Center after the game wearing a neck brace but did not speak with reporters.
"Nina is so important to our team," Conradt said. "For us to play the way we did without her tonight is a testament to how much this team wanted to win."
Our defensive pressure has been the biggest improvement we've made since we played Oklahoma in Norman (UT won in overtime). The way we controlled the boards tonight allowed us to push the ball and control the tempo.
Now's a really good time to be playing well. We have good legs and are fresh and can run and jump. As hard as it was to go through the losing spell, there were lots of things weren't going well. But the strength of this team is that they stayed with it. We are now playing the way we knew we were capable of playing.
Everyone off the bench played really well. The biggest difference is how that group comes in and plays defense. We don't lose anything when they play that way. Coco is very intelligent and knows (the opponent players') tendencies. She's been a huge key for us. I don't have to talk about Annissa (Hastings) and the energy she brings. I was hard on her at the beginning of the season, and it took her longer than I though it would and it took her longer than she hoped it would, to get back to where she was during our Final Four season. Annissa has been a huge part of what we are doing right now. She responds and I just cannot express how important she is for our team. When we made the run to the (2003) Final Four, it was Annissa and how she stepped up her play on the defensive end that was key for us - and we are starting to see that happen again."
On the injury to Nina Norman in the first half and how the team responded to it...
Over time, Jamie's relationship with Nina has been really special. Jamie has mentored Nina along. I take a great deal of pleasure in seeing their relationship. Jamie took a lot of shots tonight, shots she wouldn't normally take, as if she was saying `I'm going to get this one.' She put a dagger or two out there a few times. Nina has grown up so much and is so important to our team. For us to play without her tonight and to play as well as we did is a testament to how much we wanted to winl Nina's been a catalyst for us over this stretch when we've been playing well."
On the second half and out-scoring OU, 42-12..
On the senior class which closed out its home-court play tonight...
Senior G Jamie Carey
On playing in the Erwin Center for the final time...
Oklahoma Head Coach Sherrie Coale
When we were down by six at halftime, I was saying, boy, Texas missed some shots they probably will make later in the game. We should be up, up. We knew they are gong to hit those shots. We talked about attacking the pressure. But, we missed shots early (in the second half) and they made a couple of big plays, and it was like we froze up. We didn't change defenses, or run a set. We seemed frozen. If I knew why I could fix it."