AUSTIN, Texas -- The Houston Jaguars had four players in double-figure scoring, and the Texas Longhorns went without a field goal in the final 3:48, scoring just four free throws in that span, as the Jaguars posted a 77-73 exhibition game victory Thursday night in front of 2,171 at the Frank Erwin Center. The Houston Jaguars are a traveling team comprised of former collegians and WNBA players.
Texas was playing without its two returning starters and two top returning scorers from a year ago - 6-3 All-America junior forward Tiffany Jackson (ankle sprain) and 5-6 senior guard Nina Norman (knee injury). Leading the way for the Longhorns were a trio of freshmen who each collected 11 points - guard Erika Arriaran (Norco, Calif./Norco HS), post Aubry Cook (Houston, Texas/Cy-Fair HS) and forward Crystal Boyd (Little Rock, Ark./Parkview HS). Arriaran also had game-highs of six assists and five steals.
The Longhorns also were hurt at the foul line, hitting just six of 17 free throws (35 percent), while the Jaguars made 15 of 18 from the charity stripe. It was a turnover-marred game, with UT committing 25 turnovers and Houston 24. The Jaguars held a commanding lead in points off turnovers (25-18). For the game, the Longhorns shot 42 percent from the floor (33-of-78), while the Jaguars hit 42 percent of their shots (28-67). Texas did dominate on the boards by a 53-30 margin, led by eight boards apiece from Cook and junior post Kalee Carey (Canyon, Texas/Canyon HS).
Henderson, who played for the Longhorns from 1991-95, led the Jaguars with 16 points, while guard Jo Ann Overstreet (University of Houston) added 15 points while forward Umeki Webb, former WNBA and N.C. State standout, collected 13 points and four steals. The final player in double-figure scoring for the Jaguars was former All-America and current WNBA forward LaToya Thomas (Mississippi State).
With the score knotted at 65-65, the Longhorns took their final lead, 67-65, following a jumper by senior guard Coco Reed (Houston, Texas/Jersey Village HS) with 5:19 to go. The Jaguars then scored back-to-back three pointers by former UT guard Nekeshia Henderson and Laquita Delasbour, to regain the lead for good, 71-67 with 4:24 remaining. The teams traded baskets and with Houston leading, 73-70, Texas tied the game on two free throws by junior post Kalee Carey (Canyon, Texas/Canyon HS) and one free throw from Reed with 1:02 to play.
Reed missed her second of two free throws, and on the ensuing possession, Houston regained the lead (75-73) on a Thomas jumper from the baseline with 38 seconds to go. After a UT timeout, the Longhorns turned the ball over under their own basket, and Overstreet was fouled when the Jaguars regained possession. She missed both foul shots, however, but Thomas scooped in for the offensive rebound off the second miss and was fouled on the play.
Thomas hit both free throws to extend the lead to 77-73. Texas missed two three-pointers on their final possession.
This was the second of two exhibition games for the No. 12 Longhorns, who feature a roster of 15, including seven freshmen - the largest rookie class in Texas basketball history. Texas lost its exhibition opener, 68-60, to Everyones Internet (another team comprised of WNBA current and former players and former collegiate stars) on November 3.
In the first half, Cook led all UT scorers with 11 points, as the Longhorns held a 41-35 halftime edge. Texas had built a 29-22 lead on a Cook putback with 5:39 to go before the Jaguars closed the lead to six at the half. Texas shot 41 percent from the floor (19-for-46) while the Jaguars made 40 percent of their field goals (14-35). UT held a commanding 31-21 edge in rebounds in the first half, with freshman Ashley Lindsey (Austin, Texas/Pflugerville Connally HS) grabbing a team-high six boards.
Carey added nine points for the Longhorns, while Lindsey finished with eight points.
Texas officially opens the regular season on Friday, Nov. 18 against New Mexico at the Frank Erwin Center. Tipoff for the Texas-New Mexico game is at 7 p.m., and the game will be Breast Cancer Awareness Night. At the game, there will be information booths about breast cancer, acknowledgment of breast cancer survivors among the crowd, and "Stories of Hope", a video presentation involving stories from survivors and messages from the Longhorn players and supporters.
For UT season tickets or single game tickets, go to TexasBoxOffice.com or call 1-800-982-BEVO or 512-471-3333. Tickets may also be purchased at the Frank Erwin Center Box Office, at the UT Athletics Ticket Office, located in Bellmont Hall before (9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, Central), or at any H-E-B store in the Austin area.
Head Coach Jody Conradt
Her opening statement: We have a little trouble scoring in the last three minutes, don't we? Last game, we did not score late in the game, and tonight was the same - I think I'll have to have the game played for 37 minutes from now on.
I still think, opponent-wise, it is better to have played this team tonight rather than play a team where we were not pressed. We've got a locker room full of young players who really want answers right now, and it is a matter of us all having to get back to work tomorrow in practice.
It would have made a significant difference out there tonight had we had our two returning starters from last year - Tiffany (Jackson) and Nina (Norman). We did not anticipate that they would have injuries and not play. It also made a big difference tonight when Earnie Williams and Aubry Cook were out there, and Carla Cortijo changes the whole tempo of the game. Yet, I had to limit their minutes, since the three of them are dealing with recovery from knee injuries and Carla has been battling shin splints. We are thinking long-term in injuries. This is not the time of the year when you want to push things.
When you think about it, the player for us with the most experience out there tonight was Coco Reed. She plays with a lot of maturity, and she was the only out there tonight that has that type of maturity. Every other returnee had limited playing opportunities the last few years. We faced some pretty great players out there who they made plays when they had to.
On the positives and negatives from the game: Tonight, we had a great deal of difficulty staying connected. probably the hardest thing to talk and stay connected on defense. Our effort was better - but we lost our focus and discipline a lot on the defensive end.
I was disappointed we didn't play better defensively. Playing in practice is totally different than having experienced players attack us like the Jaguars did. We kept giving up three after three after three - that's when the game got away from us. We have to be a better free throwing team - that is the most disappointing thing I've seen so far in both our exhibition games. That is two games in a row where we have not shot very well from the free throw line. It's a personal responsibility for each player to become a better free throw shooter.
Senior Guard Coco Reed
Her general thoughts on the game: I thought the freshman stepped up well tonight at times. Obviously, we had a big deficit out there without Tiffany and Nina tonight. But, I think the freshmen are starting to get it now. This past week, we focused on defense, but like you saw tonight, we have to connect together much better in defense. I know I really have to get my teammates to commit to playing defense this week before our first game next Friday (against New Mexico). I have to be really vocal and really step up and be a leader this week.