Women's Basketball opens with 72-31 exhibition win over Houston Jaguars
AUSTIN, Texas -- The University of Texas women's basketball team jumped out leads of 12-0 and 30-9 and never looked back en route to a 72-31 exhibition game victory over the Houston Jaguars Thursday night at the Frank Erwin Center. The Longhorns were paced by a game-high 18 points from freshman guard Brittainey Raven, while senior forward Tiffany Jackson added 15 points, a game-high tying seven rebounds, two blocks and four assists to the winning effort.
The 1,737 in attendance saw head coach Jody Conradt's Longhorns dominate play in the frontcourt. Texas out-scored the Jaguars 34-14 in the paint and had a 33-29 edge in rebounding. Texas also held a distinct advantage in fast-break points, 24-11.
Texas also took advantage of strong free throw shooting, as the Longhorns made 30 trips to the foul line, connecting on 23 free throws. The quickness of Texas also forced Houston to turn the ball over 30 times, as UT held a 31-12 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Longhorns led by 30-plus points for the last 10 minutes of the game, and extended its lead to 40 points, 70-30, with 1:17 to go following two free throws by Raven.
Raven (Fort Worth, Texas/North Crowley HS) made an impressive first appearance for the Longhorns, hitting seven of 10 shots from the floor and going 4-for-4 from the foul line in 25 minutes of action. She also added three steals and three assists.
All 10 players who saw action for the Longhorns scored. Following Raven and Jackson (Dallas, Texas) in the scoring column were senior post Katrina Robinson (eight points) and sophomore guard Erika Arriaran (seven points). Robinson (Grand Prairie, Texas) also pulled down seven rebounds.
The Longhorns jumped out to a 12-0 lead 6:48 into the game, as the Jaguars had eight turnovers and missed their first six shots of the game. Texas started the game going four-for-seven from the floor with five steals in that span. Texas built its lead to 30-9 following a Carla Cortijo steal and Raven layup with 4:57 left in the half. The Jaguars scored the next basket, but UT then closed out the half with a 9-0 run with four different players scoring.
Texas led at intermission, 39-11, on the strength of balanced scoring. Eight different players scored for the Longhorns in the first half, led by eight points apiece from Jackson and Robinson. Jackson also added four rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 19 minutes of first-half action.
Texas shot a sizzling 68 percent from the floor in the first half, hitting 13 of 19 field goals while Houston hit just 20 percent (4 of 20) of its shots. UT out-scored the Jaguars in the paint by a 20-4 margin as well. From the foul line, the Longhorns were solid, making 12 of 14 free throws, while the Jaguars were three-for-four from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes.
Texas finished the game shooting 52.2 percent from the field, making 24 of 46 shots. UT turned the ball over 18 times and had 17 steals to the Jaguars' 14 steals.
Houston was led by former Stephen F. Austin forward Shanta Johnson (six points), while former Memphis forward Melissa Abraham had a team-high six rebounds. The Jaguars ended the game hitting 24.4 percent from the floor (11-for-45) and were eight-for-12 from the free throw line.
The Longhorns will return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 7 when they play their second and final exhibition game of the season. Texas will host Trinity University from San Antonio in a 7 p.m. (Central) contest. Admission to the game is free and there will be open seating in the Frank Erwin Center for that game. Prior to the game, the Texas Women's Basketball Tip Off Party, presented by Coca-Cola, will take place at the Erwin Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be live music and giveaways, and following the game, the Texas players will be available for autographs. Fans are asked to limit autograph items to two per person.
Trinity won the NCAA Division III national championship in 2003. The squad is coached by former Texas All-Southwest and All-Big 12 standout Amie (Smith) Bradley, who played for Jody Conradt from 1993-97 and scored 1,228 points.
We played hard and I was most pleased with the energy and heart we showed. We have to gain respect back from our opponents and our fans after last year, and we need to gain some self-respect as well. You start all that by playing as hard as you can play. I liked how we stayed together as a team, developed chemistry and played unselfishly. Our psyche is a little fragile. We needed to gain confidence. We told the team to work hard and have fun tonight. Those were our two objectives and we met them.
Some things that she was impressed with from her team, and those things that the Longhorns need to work on before playing in their second - and last - exhibition game on Nov. 7 (vs. Trinity University): You want a team to come out of the gates, ready to play, and we did that tonight. In the second half, however, we lost that focus a bit, and had to regroup. Every time we had a lull, someone came off the bench and gave us new energy.
Our younger players feed off the leadership and energy of Tiffany (Jackson). You saw that tonight. We also got a good effort from our other senior, Katrina Robinson.
I also think we can develop some depth on this team, once those injuries heal. Carla (Cortijo) got into the flow pretty easily tonight, but she will still have limited minutes for us right now. Pretty soon, we will have Crystal Boyd back on the court, and yesterday, Mariana Mergerson was released from the doctor to start to get back to practice. When Kristen Nash returns, you will see an energetic and solid player take to the court.
We can improve in all our areas. We need to be a better-rounded rebounding team. We are depending on Tiffany to clean the board, but tonight, Katrina stepped up and did a good job there. We turned the ball over too much and we can still be a lot better defensively. We are not where we need to be, but it was a positive first time out.
Like everyone, we need to work a bit more on some things. I give us a "B+" on this test tonight, and let's see if we can get up to an "A" in our next exhibition test on Tuesday.
On the play of the freshmen (Brittainey Raven, Niqky Hughes, Gabriell Mattox; fourth freshman Kristen Nash is injured): I think our three new people figured out that if they are on the floor, they will get a chance to score. Brittainey (Raven) certainly took advantage of that tonight. I saw from her that quickness and speed we've been talking about. Those are her biggest advantages at this point in time. She has really good instincts and her energy is really evident out there. She knocked down jumpers with no hesitation. And, at some points, Niqky (Hughes) also did the same. Both will have to give us a scoring punch.
Houston Jaguars Head Coach Louis Ray
Texas freshman guard Brittainey Raven
Texas senior forward Tiffany Jackson