Women's Basketball upends Louisiana-Lafayette, 69-59, in BTI Classic
AUSTIN, Texas -- Senior forward Tiffany Jackson registered her first double-double of the season with a game-high tying 23 points and a game-best 12 rebounds, while freshman guard Niqky Hughes came off the bench to chip in with 15 points, as No. 25 Texas held off Louisiana-Lafayette, 69-59, Monday evening in Basketball Travelers Classic action. The game was played in front of 4,319 at the Frank Erwin Center. This was the second day of the three-day, four-team round-robin Classic.
Texas improves to 2-0 on the season, as the Longhorns got big help from their bench. The UT reserves, led by Hughes (Waxahachie, Texas) and senior Katrina Robinson (nine points, five rebounds, three steals) out-scored the Ragin' Cajun reserves by a 24-6 margin. Hughes also added six rebounds and a steal.
Additionally, the Longhorns were strong at the foul line with a 21-for-29 free throw performance. Louisiana-Lafayette, now 1-1, went just five-for-13 in free throws.
Texas, with 14 steals, scored 21 points off turnovers to ULL's 13 points off turnovers. The Longhorns turned the ball over 14 times. Jackson had four of those 14 UT steals.
For the second game in a row, Jackson (Dallas, Texas) was UT's top scorer after she poured in 24 points in UT's opening game 78-55 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore Sunday in the first round of the Classic. Tuesday night's double-double was the 26th of Jackson's career.
UT sophomore guard Erika Arriaran (Norco, Calif.) added nine points and a career-high seven assists. For the second night in a row, junior guard Erneisha Bailey (Kansas City, Mo.) posted double-figure rebounds. She had 11 boards to go with five points.
After UT took a 35-27 lead into intermission, the second half was a see-saw battle in the opening eight minutes. Louisiana-Lafayette regained the lead, 43-42, on a Sonora Edwards runner which finished off a 7-0 ULL run with 12:09 to play.
Texas immediately answered with a 10-0 run of its own, triggered by back-to-back last-second desperation 3-pointers by Jackson and fellow frontcourt player Robinson from behind the arc as the shot clock was running down. Jackson hit her trey from the wing to give Texas the lead for good, 45-43, with 11:56 to go. After a turnover by Louisiana-Lafayette, UT brought the ball down court where its first shot was blocked but Texas regained control.
With time running down, Robinson sank the first 3-point attempt of her Texas career from the top of the key for the 48-43 edge.
Arriaran then hit two free throws (at 10:31) following a technical foul on the Ragin' Cajuns bench. UT regained possession after the technical under the basket, and Arriaran fed Hughes with a perfect pass underneath for an easy layup and a 50-43 lead.
After Louisiana-Lafayette cut the lead to six (52-46) on its next possession with a Whitney Dunlap three-pointer, the Longhorns pushed the lead to 15, 64-49, with a 12-3 run. That run was capped by a Jackson fast break layup with six and one-half minutes remaining.
With 1:05 to play, the Ragin' Cajuns cut the lead to nine, 68-59 on a Dunlap jumper from the wing, but Jackson scored on a tipin on UT's next possession to push the lead back to double-digits.
Louisiana-Lafayette was led by guard Onna Charles (23 points) and Dunlap (11 points), while Sonora Edwards pulled down a team-best eight rebounds.
Texas finished the game shooting 39 percent, while ULL hit 40.4 percent of its shots. Texas held the edge in rebounding by a 41-36 margin.
The Longhorns led by eight (35-27) at the break, 35-27. The first half saw both teams shoot identically from the floor (11-for-28), each hitting 39.3 percent of their shots. Texas used a 13-for-17 free throw shooting performance to take the lead into intermission, as Jackson was four-for-four and junior guard Erneisha Bailey was five-for-six from the line. Jackson had 12 points, three assists and three steals while playing 17 minutes in the first stanza. UT had six first-half steals and was aided by 11 Louisiana-Lafayette turnovers.
In Monday's first tourney game, the third game of the six-game tourney, Texas State posted a 51-33 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Bobcats, now 1-1, were paced by double-doubles from junior Joyce Ekworomadu (game-high 26 points, 11 rebounds) and Erica Putnam (12-points, game-high 12 rebounds). Ekworomadu scored more than half of the Bobcats' points by going seven-for-19 from the floor, which included three 3-pointers, and nine-for-12 from the foul line. She had 19 of those points in the second half, as she sparked the Bobcats to a 23-1 run to begin the second period. The 26 points by Ekworomadu was the most scored by any player in the BTI Classic at Austin through the first three games.
The Bobcats opened the season Sunday in the first round of the BTI Classic, losing to Louisiana-Lafayette 59-39. Maryland-Eastern Shore, a 78-55 loser to No. 25 Texas Sunday in opening round play, falls to 0-3.
The three-day tournament concludes on Tuesday, Nov. 14, with MES and Louisiana-Lafayette meeting at 5 p.m. (Central) and Texas facing Texas State at 7:30 p.m. at the Erwin Center.
The Texas game against Texas State 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).
The turning point of the game were those Texas 3's in the second half, back to back. We took the lead and to give up two straight 3-pointers, that was kind of a killer. That gave the momentum back to Texas. The other big thing was free throw's. We made five and they made 21 - that's the big difference right there.
Texas head coach Jody Conradt
They played five guards at some times, and that was a hard matchup for us. But, like I said, when we had to play tough, we did. I will take that and be happy with that. I like how we are developing really good chemistry and that we are playing really hard.
I am happy being 2-0. I told the team that early on, we are not going to analyze our games, but strive to be competitive and get better every time out. So far I am happy. We have lots to improve on, of course. Tonight, the glaring weakness was that we did not rebound well. We knew Louisiana's strength was their rebounding, and we did not take care of our end of it.
We will see some inconsistency out there, but remember that 11 of our 14 players are either freshmen or sophomores. It has to be up to your veterans to step up. They have to build a comfort zone for our younger players, and you saw that Tiffany Jackson and Katrina Robinson did that for us tonight. We are seeing what Tiffany is really capable of. She has really grown up in all facets. She came in as a talented player, but now you are seeing Tiffany in a different light - as the leader.
On the play of freshman reserve Niqky Hughes (15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal off the bench in 21 minutes): Niqky was huge for us. It was important for us to match up with them and we needed some energy out there which she and Erneisha Bailey gave us. Niqky has been moved around so much in the last few weeks, playing inside, then outside, and now back inside. She has been moving from position to position, and lately she has had very little time to get practice reps inside. She is very competitive and a fighter, and finds a way to get around the basketball. Niqky also is an excellent rebounder. She just scrambles out there and did a great job for us tonight.