No. 20 Women's Basketball defeats Louisiana-Lafayette, 76-43, to win sixth straight game
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 20 ranked Texas used a 43-14 edge in points off turnovers and a season-high 19 steals to propel the Longhorn women's basketball team to a 76-43 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette Sunday at the Frank Erwin Center.
Texas guards Carla Cortijo and Brittainey Raven led the way for the Longhorns, now 8-2, with redshirt sophomore point guard Cortijo netting game-highs of 14 points and seven assists. Raven scored 12 points and added a game-high and career-best eight steals, with seven of those thefts in the first half. Those eight steals were the most by a UT player this season. Raven rounded out her complete game with five rebounds and six assists.
The win for the Longhorns pushes UT's win streak to six games. Texas remains undefeated (5-0) at home. Texas held UL (3-5) to 24 percent shooting in the game. Louisiana-Lafayette turned the ball over 29 times, tying a season-high for turnovers by a UT opponent, and connected on just 14 of 58 attempted field goals.
Texas scored more than half of its points off turnovers, as UT's 43 points off turnovers were a season-high.
For the game, Texas shot 41 percent (31-76). This included a seven-for-23 effort from three-point range, with those seven treys made the second-highest single game total of the season. UT had nine treys last Saturday (Dec. 8) in the 88-41 win over TAMU-Corpus Christi.
Redshirt sophomore Crystal Boyd went three-for-five from long range to add nine points. Freshman Kat Nash came off the bench to grab a game-high nine rebounds.
For the first time this year, the Longhorns were out-rebounded, as UL held a slight 46-42 edge on the boards.
With Texas up 15 at halftime (38-23), UL scored the first points of the half on a Sonora Edwards jumper before the Longhorns immediately pulled away and never let the Ragin' Cajuns get any closer. The Longhorns scored eight of the next 10 points and led by 21, 48-276, on a Raven layup with 16:07 remaining. Over the next six-plus minutes, Texas out-scored Louisiana-Lafayette 11-4, and led 59-31 with 10:53 to go.
At intermission, the Longhorns held their 38-23 lead on the strength of Cortijo's 12 points and six points and seven steals by Raven. The first half saw each team posted significant runs. Ahead by four, 11-7, Texas started the series of run by out-scoring Louisiana-Lafayette 11-0, capped by an Aubry Cook putback with 12:33 left in the period.
Louisiana answered with a 13-4 run of its own over the next 6:23, as Texas went one-for-eight from the floor and two-for-two from the foul line in this span. That 13-4 run brought the Ragin' Cajuns to within four points, 24-20, when UL's Sonora Edwards hit a short jumper with 6:10 remaining.
That was the closest UL would get for the rest of the game, however, as Texas rattled off 14-3 run to close out the half. That 14-3 run saw the Longhorns register six steals. To close out the half, UT was paced by Cortijo who had nine points and one steal over the final six minutes. Texas limited Louisiana-Lafayette to one made field goal off eight attempts and forced UL into seven turnovers in the last six minutes.
The half saw the Longhorns hold a commanding 24-8 edge in points off turnovers and a 12-5 lead in fast-break points. Texas shot 38 percent from the floor, but had 14 steals. The Ragin' Cajuns had 18 first-half turnovers and connected on just 28 percent of their field goals (8-29).
UL was led by 12 points from guard Onna Charles, the only Ragin' Cajun in double-figure scoring. Alicia McDaniel added nine points and eight rebounds.
UL went 13-for-21 in free throws, while Texas was seven-for-eight from the line. Louisiana also was two-for-16 in 3-pointers.
The Longhorns now take to the road for their next three games, beginning with a road trip to Tempe, Arizona to face Arizona State, ranked No. 18 by AP and No. 19 in the USA Today/ESPN Poll. That game is Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Central. The game will be carried on KVET Radio (1300 AM) in the Central Texas area and live via internet audio at subscription-based Yahoo!Sports.
Following that game, Texas breaks for the Christmas holiday and resumes play on Dec. 28 and 30 at the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam tournament at the University of San Diego. Texas is the defending tourney champion. UT faces No. 16 De Paul in first-round action on Friday, Dec. 28 (10 p.m. Central) after host San Diego meets Appalachian State at 8 p.m. Central. After a day off, the tourney concludes with third-place and championship games on Sunday, Dec. 30 (8 and 10 p.m. Central).
· The 29 turnovers by the Ragin' Cajuns tied the most TO's by a Texas opponent this year ... UL equaled the 29 turnovers committed by Missouri State on Nov. 11 in the season opener
· Texas established single-game highs for the season in steals (19) and 3-point field goal attempts (29) and tied for the single game high in field goal attempts (76)
· The Longhorns have now connected on 16 3-pointers, scoring the most treys in back-to-back games this season with nine against TAMU-Corpus Christi (9-21, Dec. 8) and seven against UL (7-23)
· Raven finished with a career-high eight steals, which also is a single game high this year for the Longhorns ... Her prior high was five, set last year against Southern University (Nov. 30)
· Texas remains undefeated at home at the Frank Erwin Center this season (5-0)
· Texas has now led at the half in every game it has won (8) to date
· Texas had entered the game having out-rebounded each of its first nine opponents, but were out-rebounded by UL today (46-42)
· The 14 points from redshirt sophomore guard Carla Cortijo was her second highest single game scoring total this year ... Cortijo had a career-high 17 in the season opening victory over Missouri State
· Sophomore guard Brittainey Raven continued her double-figure scoring streak, increasing it to 10 games (she did not score in double-figures to end last season, so that double-figure scoring streak began at the start of this year) ... Raven equals her double-figure scoring output from a year ago, when she notched 10 or more points 10 times in 32 games played
On the turnovers from the full-court press: When you stand up, catch it and try to dribble instead of pass-faking and making them move their feet, you're going to have turnovers. I think a couple times in the second half, we broke their press and got a couple of layups, but then we would go brain dead. We knew Texas was going to press us and our defense game plan was great, but the game was won in transition. We let [Crystal] Boyd hit a couple of three-pointers late in the second half and now we got her season rolling.
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
On if the eight-day layoff for final exams affected the team: Not really, I think we actually had our best couple of practices over the last few days. I know we were excited about playing and about finals being over, so before the game, the players were very excited. I had to tell them to be focused as well. I sensed we were too excited because we were rushing our shots early. E-Bay (Erneisha Bailey) came out on our first possession and hit that first three pointer, and right then I think everyone thought that they were going to be on, so everyone started to settle for those outside shots. And today, those shots were not following. Luckily, we got some points off of their turnovers to jumpstart the offense.
On the Texas (offensive) lull in the first half: I think it was just one of those games where the shots weren't falling. That happens, but fortunately Carla [Cortijo] hit a couple of real big buckets for us, and we needed that. Again, that's the good thing about not having to rely on just one or two players. On any given night, somebody might have a cold shooting hand, but there's always someone else who can step up, and I think that is what happened tonight.
On facing No. 18 Arizona State next (Dec. 20 in Tempe): I know the game against them is going to be a real test for us. Arizona State is an exceptional team, especially at home, and they know what it takes to be successful. They were in the "Elite Eight" last year and they have some outstanding players and pressure defense. They are where we need to be. For me, I love challenges, and I think this is a challenge we are excited about and looking forward to.
TEXAS JUNIOR GUARD CARLA CORTIJO
On her confidence against UL and in general this season: It all started with my three-point shooting tonight. I started getting confidence after I started knocking down my shots. Then, later, I got a steal, and I was scared to make that behind-the-back pass to Kat (Kathleen Nash) on the fast break, because I knew that Coach G was going to get mad at me if I turned the ball over. But, I didn't turn it over, and Coach G wasn't mad at me, right? But I was just out there having fun, like I have all year. Part of it is confidence in my (left) knee and not having to wear and play in a brace. That brace was really heavy, and I just feel like I am smoother and quicker now.
TEXAS SOPHOMORE GUARD Brittainey Raven