No. 5 Women's Basketball downs No. 21 Arizona State, 81-71
Dec. 18, 2008Box Score | Photo Gallery
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Kathleen Nash was back at it again on Thursday night.
After providing a much-needed spark in Texas' 73-59 win against 10th-ranked Tennessee on Sunday, Nash was the catalyst against Arizona State.
Nash paced Texas with a career-high 27 points, propelling fifth-ranked Texas to an 81-71 victory over No. 21 Arizona State on Thursday night.
"We knew going in it was going to be our toughest challenge to date because they are big, strong, athletic and deep," Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. "And they are experienced, and that's the thing they have on Tennessee."
Nash tied a school record by going 12-for-12 from the free-throw line, and connected on 3-of-6 3-pointers. Forward Ashley Lindsey finished with 12 points and four key blocks for the Longhorns.
Dymond Simon led the Sun Devils (7-3) with 21 points
While Nash is known for her skills behind the 3-point line, it was her dribble-and-drive penetration that set her apart in this win. Nash had four trips to the free throw line in the second half due to her aggressiveness with the basketball.
"I've been trying to work on my driving, and not just be a 3-point shooter," Nash said. "I think I did a better job of that tonight, and when I penetrate it helps open things up offensively."
In all, Texas was 30-of-33 at the free throw line.
"That was the game, that's 30 points right there," Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "We had some big breakdowns in our team defense, and there were times when we started to get beat, and we just hacked them. And that's absolutely, positively not acceptable in our program."
In Turner's eyes, the Sun Devils failed to meet their objective tonight.
"Our goal is to make people make shots, and we failed miserably at that goal tonight," Thorne said.
With Texas ahead by just three points late in the second half, Nash nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Longhorns a 57-51 lead. Nash scored 10 points in the last 10 minutes of the game to help Texas pull away in the second half.
But things weren't as easy for the Longhorns in the first half.
Texas was bullied down low as Arizona State outrebounded Texas 23-17 in the first half. The Sun Devils grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and had many second-chance points, giving them the lead for most of the first half.
"We were all frustrated with the offensive rebounds," Goestenkors said.
With Texas down 35-34 in the remaining seconds of the first half, Nash caught a pass from guard Carla Cortijo in the corner and nailed a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Longhorns a narrow 37-35 lead going into the half.
Both teams exchanged baskets in the early part of the second half, but Nash helped spark a late rally for the Longhorns. Nash scored eight of Texas' last 16 points in her eighth double-digit scoring effort of the season.
"I think we're all very relieved we came away with a win," Goestenkors said. "We can enjoy Christmas a little more."
The Longhorns are now 10-0 for just the third time in school history, and the first time since the 1985-86 season. Texas finished that season off undefeated and claimed the school's lone National Championship.
On the importance of having a productive bench: We have great depth and I also think we have great balance. I think it's important to be balanced. Anytime you just rely on one specific person, good teams will be able to shut them down. I think my goal now is to get one of my post players to be our leading scorer in a game. We need to get some more production from them, and that's an area we'll continue to work on.
On limiting ASU on the offensive rebounds: I think we were all frustrated with the offensive rebounds. Rebounding is about determination and heart, and I think our players just became very determined to do a better job of keeping them off of the offensive glass.
SOPHOMORE GUARD Kathleen Nash
On her performance: I think right now, I'm trying to work on driving and not just being a three-point shooter. I think tonight, I did a better job of that, because they were putting so much pressure on us that we had to go to the basket. My teammates also did a great job of finding me in transition, so that really helped.
On how her driving to the basket helps: I think when I penetrate, it helps open things up because they have to step off a little and that made my shots more open.
On why it was difficult to get momentum: I think all of our momentum starts with our defense, and I don't think our defense was great. They were setting a lot of screens and getting a lot of good looks. I think once we picked up our defense, we created points on our offense and that really gets us.
ARIZONA STATE QUOTES
On the importance of free-throws: We usually pressure people a lot more, but looking at them on tape, we told our players to just keep them in front of you and not to let them draw the fouls. We had some big break downs with our team defense. We just need to be more disciplined. Anytime we star t getting beat, we just let it happen. That's absolutely what is not acceptable in our program. That's very frustrating to all of us that we came in here and played like that, because our goal is to make people make shots, and we failed miserably at that goal tonight.
On the team's atmosphere at halftime: We thought we just played very average, not good. We played really soft defense and missed a lot of shots, but yet it was only a two-point game to Texas. In general, we thought that if we play good position defense, we take away everything. But we didn't do that. Their trapping zone gave us some problems and we were a little soft in that. We need to be a little more aggressive. We coughed it up a little bit and gave them some easy baskets.
SENIOR GUARD BRIANN JANUARY