No. 9/6 Women's Basketball tops Mississippi, 74-50
Dec. 7, 2008
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Texas needed 18 minutes to find the right offensive combination Sunday at Mississippi. The patience of Longhorns head coach Gail Goestenkors was rewarded.
The No. 9 Longhorns defeated Mississippi, 74-50, dominating the final 24 minutes. The balanced offensive attack placed four players in double figures, led by Brittainey Raven with 16 points. Erika Arriaran added 14 points while Ashleigh Fontenette and Kathleen Nash had 13 and 10 points, respectively.
"It was a matter of finding the right combination," said Goestenkors, as Texas improved to 8-0. "Sometimes it takes a little while to see what is working best and once we did that, I was pleased with how we played."
The Longhorns broke open a 26-26 tie late in the first half on consecutive three-point shots by Arriaran and Yvonne Anderson. By halftime, Texas led 36-29 and opened it to 44-29 with 16:47 left on a jumper by Raven.
Ole Miss (7-1) never got closer than nine points again. Texas led by as many as 26 points in the final four minutes, sparked by a decisive 47-34 rebounding edge, and got points from all 11 players that had playing time.
"When you play Texas, it's not a matter of scouting the first eight players," Ole Miss coach Renee Ladner said. "It's all of them. You've got to deal with all of them, not just the first eight. Those combinations make it tough on you."
The Rebels led by Shawn Goff and Kayla Melson with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Ole Miss, who ranked second nationally in rebounding margin, were outrebounded by Texas, 47-34. In an eight-minute span that bridged both halves, Ole Miss had one field goal.
"I'm disappointed with our rebounding," Ladner said. "We were dominated there. We did a pretty good job guarding Arriaran for about 18 minutes, then she hurt us with threes. But, we're a 7-1 team that's done a lot of good things and we have an opportunity to learn from this."
The Longhorns shot 29-of-60 from the field, 48 percent, while Raven and Arriaran combined for 11-of-21, including five three-point shots. Ole Miss finished 16-of-61, 26 percent, from the field.
"My team needs me to hit those shots and I hadn't done much early in the game," Arriaran said. "We finally got a combination that gave me a chance to get a couple of shots down. We're still working out the kinks, but it's great to win and still know that our team can still get better."
The importance of the road win, in a battle of unbeaten teams with national reputations, wasn't lost on Goestenkors.
"Definitely this was a big game for us; and important game," Goestenkors said. "Any time you can get a road win and a road win over an SEC team, like an Ole Miss, that's very big. They're good and they're well-coached, so it's very important."
On how easy it is for the bench to pick up the slack: I think it's really easy. They know they're going to get in every game. They know they can have an impact. You're only allowed five starters, but I feel like anyone on the team could start. They have a lot of confidence when they come in. It's been a trend of ours that when the bench comes in, they usually pick up the intensity and the focus. It's kind of like a one-two punch. They take great pride in elevating our level of play when they come in.
On the Texas depth: They had a lot of depth. That was one of our concerns going into the game. For the most part this year, our bench has been pretty good. In the first half, we played their bench and I thought we should have taken advantage of that. We got the big kid out who was swatting and blocking shots the whole time. We had number four out of the game for foul trouble. We had number ten out of the game. When I look down the stat sheet those are the people who finished with double figures. They're a very talented team. Texas is much better than we are. They altered everything that we tried to do on the offensive side of the floor. Just their size alone was intimidating for us.