AUSTIN, Texas -- Behind four players in double-figure scoring, No. 25 Texas raced out to leads of 16-3 and 36-5 en route to an 84-56 victory over Sam Houston State Monday evening at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Longhorns were led by a game-high and career-high 20 points from sophomore guard Erika Arriaran and the fourth consecutive double-double from senior forward Tiffany Jackson (14 points, game-high and season-high 14 rebounds).
Texas, now 4-1, is off to its best start since 2003-04 when the Longhorns began the year 7-0. All four of UT's wins have come at home.
Texas shot 56.3 percent for the game, a season-high, while limiting Sam Houston (2-2) to 30 percent shooting from the floor.
UT also dominated the inside play. On the boards, the Longhorns held a 49-30 edge in rebounds and out-scored the Bearkats in the paint by a 42-16 margin.
Arriaran had her best shooting night of the year, going five-for-six from the field (2-2 in 3-pointers) and eight-for-nine from the free throw line.
Joining Arriaran and Jackson in double-figure scoring were senior forward Katrina Robinson and sophomore post Ashley Lindsey, each with season-bests of 10 points. Arriaran's 20 points, 13 of which came in the first half, surpassed her former high of 17 points set last season. Nine of the 10 Longhorns players who saw action scored.
The Bearkats had three players reach double-figure scoring. Senior guard Erika Parker had 12 points, followed by the freshman guard duo of Brittany Brooks and Alexis Green with 10 point each.
The game was marred by turnovers (28 for UT, 25 for Sam Houston), and a total of 79 fouls were whistled.
The Longhorns led at intermission, 53-23 after shooting 56.3 percent from the floor - a season-best for shooting in one half - as Texas made 18 of 32 shots. UT limited the Bearkats to 25 percent accuracy from the floor in the first 20 minutes as Sam Houston made seven of 28 shots.
Texas ran out to a 16-0 lead just 4:33 into the game behind 10 points from Arriaran. The Longhorns made five of their first six shots and went five-for-five from the foul line with four steals in the opening minutes. Sam Houston finally get on the board (16-3) with a 3-point jumper by Whitney Smith with 14:45 into the match.
The Longhorns then extended the lead to 31 points, 36-5, on an Erneisha Bailey layup with 8:58 left in the half. The Bearkats then made a three-pointer and a jumper to make it 36-10, but that was the closest Sam Houston would get as Texas netted 13 of the game's next 16 points and led 49-13 on two Ashley Lindsey free throws with 2:37 to go.
In the second half, the Longhorns held leads of 25-plus points. The Bearkats got to withing 22 points (73-51) with 5:42 to go on a Parker 3-pointer.
Texas will break for the Thanksgiving holiday and return to action on Saturday, Nov. 25 in a 2 p.m. home game against Oral Roberts at the Erwin Center. The game will be the second of four straight home games for the Longhorns. It will air live on KVET Radio (1300 AM) in the Central Texas area and can be viewed on the internet on the subscription-based TexasSports.TV video stream, found at www.TexasSports.com.
Tickets (season, single game, group and mini-packs) for all Texas Basketball games are available for purchase in the following ways: online at TexasBoxOffice.com; by phone at 800-982-BEVO or 512-471-3333; at the Erwin Center Box Office during business hours and one hour prior to tipoff on game day; and at the UT Athletics Ticket Office in Bellmont Hall (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. CT).
Sam Houston State Head Coach Brenda Welch-Nichols
Her general statement: I am proud of my team right now. This is my first year here as head coach, but I know last year's team would have folded and not kept its composure like we did tonight. We were down, what, 14-0 or 16-0 to start, but we never lost composure. We battled for 40 minutes. If we had scored a little in the beginning, it would have helped. Right now, I have two seniors on my team, and the rest of them are babies. At one point, I had five freshman out there tonight.
For us to go in and beat Texas in the second half in scoring is huge. At the time we made a run late in the game, we had four freshman guards and a post player in there. I was looking at the future in a program which does not have a winning tradition.
Tonight was one of the those games, you have to get after it and bring it. Alexis Green and Brittany Brooks had great games as freshmen. I told my team in pregame- we don't have a big `Goliath', and Texas has them. We went in being `David', although we were really good "David's" at times tonight.
Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt
Her general statement: We should probably not have gone into halftime, since we had it going pretty well in the first half. Then, we got sloppy with the basketball in the second half. It was not fun to watch. It was frustrating out there- too many turnovers.
I don't think this is one I want to remember. At the same time, we came out with really good energy, but we did not maintain our composure and that was disappointing.
To Sam Houston's credit, they stayed right at it. I am sure that their coach is happy with them right now, especially for how hard they played and what they did in the second half.
But again, what our team has done in the last 10 days is play a lot of basketball. It is time for us to get back to practice, re-group and have some repetitions. We have grown as a team, no question about that. But we really have not had real practices the last week or so as we've played five games since last Sunday. We have either been preparing for a game or recovering from a game. Now, we need a lot of reps, and trust me, they are going to get them!
The only way a young team moves forward is by repetition. We need to get to the practice floor. We did not have a day off last week, either. By NCAA rules, if you don't have a day off one week, you take two off the next week. So, the team is off Tuesday and Wednesday, to rest and get orientated academically for finals. We will get back to work on Thursday for practice.
I know we were probably feeling pretty good about the way we played in the second half against New Mexico, and we let those thoughts stay with us tonight. But, you cannot get excited about being close in a game. It's time for us to get back to work.
On the play of Erika Arriaran and Carla Cortijo, UT's starting guards: Erika did shoot the ball pretty well tonight. Carla does an excellent job of getting Erika open and we saw that tonight, especially in the first half. We knew Sam Houston liked to run in the transition and was quick. I thought it would help us to go with a smaller lineup, and it did help by having both Erika and Carla on the floor together.
We've put everything on Erika's shoulders, in her defense. We've asked her to run the game in Carla's absence and be our best outside shooter. She's played the most minutes of anyone except Tiffany (Jackson), and we know that Tiffany is super-human and that playing all those minutes doesn't effect her! It's been grueling for Erika, no doubt about it. There has been lots on Erika's shoulders, and through all of it, she is suffering from a little bug. I am happy to see her have shooting success.
In terms of Carla, her ball-handling and decision-making continues to improve. You only get better with practice and repetitions, so it's going to be important to have her out there working with us this week.
What she is looking for from the Longhorns in the next few games: I want us to be solid, especially in our fundamentals, and truthfully, to be better in every phase of the game. We did not stop penetration tonight. That's where our defense broke down. We cannot have that. We cannot waste any of the 40 minutes in the games ahead if we are going to adequately prepare for some of the very tough opponents ahead.
The turnovers tonight were disappointing. That does not show much maturity. If there was one big area of disappointment tonight, it was that we turned the ball over again and again, especially in the open court. We got too anxious out there. We don't take accountability like we need to. We think, 'oh, we'll get it back'. We might have gotten it back a lot tonight, but it's not always going to be that way.
We needed to get everyone on the floor. Our guards needed to take charge and step it up. That is what they are trying to do right now. I am also looking for good play from the bench. Katrina (Robinson) has been playing well. Ashley (Lindsey) has started to pick it up. We need her to step up her game, and we started to see a little bit of that tonight. That was encouraging.
And, finally by having some real practice time, I expect us to be sharper against Oral Roberts on Saturday.