No. 25 Women's Basketball opens with 78-55 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore
AUSTIN, Texas -- Led by a game-high 24 points from senior forward Tiffany Jackson and 15 points from sophomore guard Erika Arriaran, the No. 25 Texas women's basketball team posted a 78-55 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore in the Longhorns' season opener Sunday night in front of 4,446 at the Frank Erwin Center. The Texas-MES game was the second of six games in the four-team, three-day predetermined round-robin format of the Basketball Travelers Classic, hosted by The University of Texas. The tourney runs Sunday-Tuesday, Nov. 12-14.
UT junior guard Erneisha Bailey drew the seventh start of her career and added seven points, a game-high and career-high 11 rebounds. Bailey (Kansas City, Mo.) also had a career-high five steals, which also tied for the game-best as well.
Texas had 15 steals in the contest, while the Lady Hawks turned the ball over 29 times. MES will play four games on four consecutive nights, as the Lady Hawks opened the season Saturday evening at St. Francis (Pa.) with a 63-59 loss.
In the first game of the BTI Classic on Sunday, Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0) posted a decisive 59-39 win over Texas State (0-1) behind double-doubles from senior forward Yolanda Jones (game-high 21 points, 16 rebounds) and junior post Sonora Edwards (11 points, game-high 17 rebounds).
In the pre-determined format on Monday (Nov. 13), Texas State (0-1) faces Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-2) at 5 p.m. (Central) at the Erwin Center, while ULL (1-0) squares off against Texas (1-0) in a 7:30 p.m. game which will air on FSN SW (FOX Sports Net Southwest TV). Tuesday, ULL meets Maryland-Eastern Shore (5 p.m.) and Texas takes on Texas State (7:30 p.m.).
Texas led at intermission, 38-27, on the strength of 13 points from Jackson and 10 from Arriaran. Maryland-Eastern Shore kept the score close with strong shooting, hitting at a 48 percent clip from the floor by making 10 of its first 21 shots. The Longhorns, in contrast, shot 32 percent (12-38) in the first 20 minutes, but were aided by seven steals and a 22-18 edge in rebounding. UT had just nine turnovers in the first half.
In the second half, Texas began to pull away as the Horns went on a 14-4 run in the first 7:35 of the half. UT took a 21-point lead (52-31) on a Jackson layup with 12:25 to play. In that 14-4 run by UT, the Lady Hawks turned the ball over in their first five possessions, and went one-for-six (a three-pointer) and had a free throw in those opening seven and one-half minutes of play.
The closest MES would get down the stretch was 17 points (54-37) following a 3-pointer by Jelila Abdul-Bassit with 10:35 remaining. Texas then scored five answered points on Arriaran's second 3-pointer of the game, followed by an Ashley Lindsey jumper, to push the lead to 22 (59-37) with nine minutes left.
The victory at home snapped UT's five-game home-court losing streak carried over from last season. That was the longest home-court losing streak in UT program history.
Texas finished the game shooting 39 percent from the field (25-64), including 50 percent in the second half when the Longhorns were 13-for-26 from the floor.
MES, led by 14 points from forward Kristi Veltkamp, shot 38 percent for the game. Veltkamp was the lone Maryland-Eastern Shore player in double-digit scoring.
Texas out-rebounded the Lady Hawks, 39-35. UT had seven blocks while Maryland-Eastern Shore finished with six.
From the foul line, the Longhorns were 25-for-37. MES was 13-for-18 in free throws. From long range, MES was six-for-16 in 3-pointers while UT was 3-for-12.
In the Texas State-ULL game, the 17 rebounds by Ragin' Cajun Edwards and the 16 from Jones were part of 63 that ULL pulled down in the game, as the Ragin' Cajuns dominated on the boards by a 63-34 margin. Texas State turned the ball over just 12 times, but was hurt by poor shooting and the rebounding gap.
Louisiana-Lafayette and the Bobcats both shot poorly from the floor as each squad took 63 shots. ULL shot just 38.1 percent in the victory, making 24 field goals, while Texas State hit 22.2 percent of its shots (14 of 63). Both squads made four 3-pointers each. Louisiana-Lafayette went seven-for-16 in free throws and Texas State was seven-for-15 from the charity stripe.
The Bobcats were led by junior forward Joyce Ekworomadu's 11 points while senior forward Erica Putnam added a team-best 13 rebounds.
The Texas game against Louisiana-Lafayette also will to broadcast on KVET Radio (1300 AM) in Central Texas and via internet audio at subscription-based Yahoo!Sports. The game also will be tape-delayed in an internet video format (to run at the game's conclusion) on subscription-based TexasSports.TV (found at www.TexasSports.com).
Tickets for the game can be purchased at TexasBoxOffice.com or via the phone (800/982-BEVO) or in person at the UT Athletics Ticket Office (9 a.m.-4 p.m., Central) or Erwin Center Box Office (one hour prior to tipoff).
But the good thing was that we made Texas come out and play 40 minutes of basketball. If we played last night [a 63-59 loss at St. Francis (Pa.)] the way we played tonight, we would have beaten St. Francis by 20. "
When asked how many of MES's 29 turnovers were caused by Texas' defensive pressure... "A lot of our turnovers came from their pressure. I thought we executed well tonight. If we had done that last night, we'd be 1-1 right now. We started two kids tonight who hadn't played in over a year. Our goal, especially as we start the year off with four games in four nights, is to get better every time we step on the court."
Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt
Let's give credit to Maryland-Eastern Shore. They played really hard. Every time we ran the shot clock down, they stepped up and made shots, especially in the first half. In the second half, we got the tempo up and forced some things.
We got good efforts from Tiffany (Jackson) and a great one from E-Bay (Erneisha Bailey). Earnie (Earnesia Williams) had a pretty good line as well for her first game back after her medical redshirt year. Four-for-four (in shooting), six rebounds, no turnovers, two assists, two blocks, a steal. I think that's a pretty good day as well. She has really good footwork - we just need to slow her down from warp speed out there!
We are going to be really working hard to be a better shooting team. We are capable of doing better offensively than what we showed tonight, but I will count this as first-game jitters. It was disappointing that we did not take opportunities to convert with point-blank shots and layups. I think we will settle down and make some of those. If we made at least half of the little shots we missed, we would have been much more comfortable in this game a lot earlier."
On the play of junior guard Erneisha Bailey, who gained a start and finished with career-bests in rebounds (11) and steals (five)... "I've been saying all preseason that E-Bay (Bailey) has been playing really well. She is strong and goes strong to the hoop and her defense and energy on defense, particularly in rebounding, was key for us tonight. This improvement in her game is due to her hard work and change of focus during the off-season, a change to utilize the ability she has. I envisioned her playing like this when she came in."
How does Texas adjust to turning around and playing two more games in the next 48 hours... "Well, we will find out just how good we can adjust, won't we? How quickly we can bounce back? It will be interesting to see what condition we are in. I will be taking precautions with those players coming off of injuries, so we will be shuffling players in and out."
Texas Junior Guard Erneisha Bailey
Texas Senior Forward Tiffany Jackson
Our emphasis in preseason has been on defense and how hard you play out there. Our strengths as a team are defensive pressure, running the floor and being athletic and getting in passing lanes. We did that tonight."