ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The No. 25 Texas Longhorns made a gallant run in the final seven minutes of play, overcoming a 17-point deficit by out-scoring No. 23 New Mexico in that span, but fell just short, 63-60, in women's basketball play Friday evening in a game played at University Arena (The Pit) on the UNM campus in front of 10,085.
Down by six with 41 seconds to go, sophomore Erika Arriaran sank a 3-point jumper from the wing to pull UT within three, 63-60. On UMN's next possession, UT freshman Niqky Hughes blocked a shot attempt on the baseline by Amy Beggin and UT called the timeout with 11 seconds on the clock.
In a play designed to go inside-out, the Longhorns were unable to get the ball into the post, and Arriaran, dribbling the ball and tightly guarded, got off a good shot from the top of arc with a straightaway jumper which hit the front of the rim as time expired.
This was the first game of the year for Texas, now 3-1, against a Top 25 opponent. New Mexico is 2-2.
UT head coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Jody Conradt, who ranks No. 2 in all-time college basketball victories (men's or women's), coached her 1,000th game on the Texas sidelines.
The loss denies the Longhorns a chance to start the season at 4-0 for the 13th time in Conradt's 31 years at Texas.
Texas was paced by the third double-double in a row from senior forward Tiffany Jackson. Jackson collected game-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds to post her third double-double in four games. Hughes joined her in double figure scoring (12 points).
In dramatic fashion, Texas battled back from a 17-point deficit late in the second half. With just seven minutes to play, Texas trailed by 55-38 before Hughes, Arriaran and freshman Brittainey Raven sparked the Longhorns' rally as UT went on a 22-8 run to cut the lead to 63-60.
In that 22-8 run, Raven (five points), Arriaran (four) and Hughes (four) controlled the offense for UT.
New Mexico was paced by forward Dionne Marsh (20 points) and guard Julie Briody (18 points).
The Lobos used a six-for-20 effort from 3-point range and a 25-for-31 effort in free throws in posting the win. Texas made just one trey (Arriaran's in the waning seconds) and was 15-for-18 in foul shots.
After a woeful first-half of shooting, the Longhorns connected on 52 percent of its second-half shots, making 14 of 27, while limiting New Mexico to 27 percent shooting over the last 20 minutes (7-24).
Texas dominated in the paint, outscoring the Lobos down low by a 38-14 margin.
The Longhorns were hurt by ice-cold shooting in the first 10 minutes of the game, connecting on just three of their first 20 field goal attempts, with seven of those missed layups, falling behind by a 24-8 margin. In contrast, New Mexico hit six of 14 from the floor to start, but built the lead with four of those made field goals coming from 3-point range and a 10-for-10 free throw performance in that span.
Down by 16, Texas made a run to cut the Lobos lead to 10, 29-19, following a spinning layup by Jackson with 3:25 left in the period. New Mexico immediately countered by going on an 8-0, as a Briody putback, a Marsh layup and free throw, and a Montgomery 3-pointer pushed the lead to 37-19. A Jackson traditional three-point play (layup and free throw) made the halftime score 37-22.
Two of UT's starters -- redshirt freshman forward Earnesia Williams and junior guard Erneisha Bailey - also picked up three fouls in the first half. Williams played just five minutes, while Bailey, who came into the game as UT's top rebounder with a 10.7 rpg average, played just 11 minutes.
For the half, Texas made eight of 34 shots (24 percent) and the Lobos made just eight field goals. The difference was at the free throw line and from the 3-point arc. New Mexico was stellar with a 14-for-15 effort in free throws and also were five-for-14 in treys. Texas was six-for-nine from the line and 0-4 in 3-pointers.
Led by Jackson (13 first-half points), Texas did most of its damage in the paint, scoring 16 of its 22 points inside.
New Mexico held a 25-21 edge in first-half rebounding, and had six turnovers to just five for the Longhorns.
Conradt, who also is a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, is on the UT bench for her 21st season. She holds an impressive record of 768-232 and a winning percentage of 77 percent at the Forty Acres.
In her career, the No. 2 all-time winningest collegiate coach has been on the sidelines for 1,179 career games overall in this her 38th year as a collegiate head coach. She is is 885-294 (.752) in all-time games.
Texas returns to action on Monday, Nov. 20 when it hosts Sam Houston State in a 7 p.m. contest (Central) at the Frank Erwin Center. The game will be UT's fifth in a span of nine days. It also starts a four-game homestand for Texas - the longest homestand of the year as the Longhorns are playing nine of its first 11 games at home.
For tickets, go to www.TexasBoxOffice.com or call (800) 982-BEVO or (512) 471-3333 (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Central, Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Central).
The game will air on KVET Radio 1300 AM in Central Texas and can be heard on subscription-based Yahoo! Sports College Broadcast. Internet video streaming of all Texas basketball home games can be found on TexasSports.TV, UT's multimedia subscription-based internet fan service.
Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt
"We put ourselves in a tremendous hole in the first half, and we battled back in the last 10 minutes of the game, something I am very proud of. Yet, against a team of New Mexico's caliber, a team which is poised and fundamentally sound, and playing in front of 10,000 hostile fans, you really cannot dig yourself into that type of hole.
We were not very good at all in finishing our shots in the first half, and I think one of the coaches told me that we missed 11 layups in the first half, which certainly is not acceptable.
But, we battled and had a chance to win. On our last possession, I wanted the ball to go inside-out, but they were guarding Tiffany very well inside and Erika had to work very hard to get off a good look at the basket.
This game gives us the confidence that we can battle back. I was particularly proud of Tiffany, who can literally pick us up on her back and carry us herself when she has to. Tonight, we saw good play from some of our younger players, particularly our freshman Niqky Hughes and Brittainey Raven. This is a tough loss, and you don't like to have any of them, but I do like how we fought back to make it a game and come within a basket of tying and sending it to overtime."