AUSTIN, Texas -- Senior guard Nina Norman netted 15 points, and freshman post Ashley Lindsey registered her second double-double of the year with 14 points and a career-high and game-best 14 rebounds, to lead No. 20 Texas to a 77-65 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in women's basketball action Wednesday night in front of 5,159 at the Frank Erwin Center.
The victory for Texas, now 6-3, was its third in a row. TAMUCC (5-5), despite a game-high 27 points from senior Terra Andrews, saw its five-game win streak snapped. The Islanders shot just 33.8 percent from the floor, making 26 of 77 field goals attempted.
Texas shot a season-high 48.3 percent, connecting on 28 of 58 of its field goals. Five Longhorns finished in double-figure scoring. Joining Norman and Lindsey in double-figure scoring were junior forward Tiffany Jackson with 13 points, freshman guard Erika Arriaran (13 points) and sophomore guard Erneisha Bailey, who had a career-high 11 points. Jackson also finished with a game-high five blocks.
Texas led throughout the game, including a 35-23 lead at the break. The Islanders fought back to pull within seven twice, the last time with 11:07 to go on a Jullianne Duffey layup to make it 52-45.
The Longhorns then went on a 10-4 run, propelled by eight points from Norman, to go ahead 62-49 with 7:42 remaining. In the 10-4 run, Norman had a pullup jumper at the top of the key and two 3-pointers from the wing.
The Islanders closed to within 10 points, 71-61, following a 3-point jumper from Mercedes Cooper with 1:09 to play. TAMUCC then fouled Arriaran on the inbounds, and she sank both shots for a 73-61 lead before Cooper scored on a driving layup to bring TAMUCC to within 10, 73-63, with 59 seconds left.
Texas and TAMUCC then traded baskets (two free throws by Norman and an Andrews layup for TAMUCC) before Arriaran made two more free throws for a 77-65 edge with 43 seconds to play.
To begin the game, Texas had jumped out to a 18-4 lead 9:15 into the game, as the Islanders started cold from the floor, hitting just two of their first 16 shots to go with four turnovers. Texas was 6-for-15 from the field and made four of six free throws in the 18-4 start.
TAMUCC then cut into the lead, pulling within nine points, 28-19 on two free throws by Sarah Davidson with 3:57 to go in the period. Texas then scored seven of the game's next nine points, capped by a Jackson short jumper in the paint, to lead 35-21 with 2:01 to go. TAMUCC made the final score of the half one minute later on an Andrews layup, and the Longhorns led at intermission, 35-23.
Lindsey had 10 points and nine rebounds in the first half as the Horns shot 44 percent from the floor (14-for-32) and limited the Islanders to 23 percent shooting. TAMUCC made just eight of 35 of its first-half shots. In the first 20 minutes, UT also held a 26-19 edge in rebounding and out-scored the Islanders 22-10 in the paint.
The Islanders had another player in double-figure scoring, as Duncan finished with 14 points. Andrews finished with 11 rebounds and Elisa Beagle had a team-high 12 boards.
Texas out-rebounded TAMUCC, 46-37. Texas turned the ball over 21 times, while TAMUCC had just 11 turnovers. Texas finished with 10 blocks and was solid from the foul line, making 17 of 22 free throws taken.
The game concludes Texas' four-game home- stand, the Longhorns' longest home-stand of the year. Following a break for the Christmas holiday, the Longhorns return to campus on December 26 and prepare for a rigorous three-week road swing of three consecutive road games - all of which will be on national TV.
Next up, Texas plays at No. 9 Rutgers (Fri., Dec. 30 on College Sports TV, 6 p.m.) before beginning the Big 12 Conference slate with games at Kansas (Tue., Jan. 3, 6 p.m. on CSTV) and at No. 4 Baylor (Sat., Jan. 7, 3 p.m. on FOX Sports Net TV).
Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt
Her general statement: We were better tonight than last time out (against North Texas), but we are still struggling with our consistency. We would get up by 14 or so, then relax, and let Corpus Christi right back into it. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is a solid team - they were not going to give up - they kept coming at us, coming at us. I was disappointed the we could not put them away - it was partly because of what we were not doing and partly because they would not let us do so. We were not very focused and did not do the little things. This inconsistency is hurting us. At times we were pretty dominant, but then the next few times down the court we had little intensity. We gave up 20 offensive boards, and that is disappointing.
Yet, the execution out there was much better. It was good to have balanced scoring and to have five people in double figures. We are improving, no question about that. The biggest improvement tonight was in our offense. It was pretty inept against North Texas. Tonight, we did a better job of helping each other. We had 16 assists tonight. We had only three against North Texas, so tonight there was better flow and movement and ball reversal.
On the play of senior Nina Norman (15 points, including 10 in the second half): We expect Nina to do just what you saw her do tonight - play great and take over the game. She had some big shots for us midway through the second half. Like I've said all along, nothing will change with our team - we need Tiffany (Jackson) and Nina to keep us going on both ends of the floor every time out.
On what faces the Longhorns next - a three-game road swing, with all games on national TV and starting with a Dec. 30th game at No. 9 Rutgers: It's pretty simple. We are going to be in the fire from here on in. We have been in the frying pan until now with our games. Right now, our team leaves for the Christmas holiday, and we come back to campus on December 26th for three days of practice before we leave for Rutgers. It's Rutgers on the road first (Dec. 30) and then the Big 12 starts - and we have two road games to open up the Big 12. It's going to get tougher and tougher.
Texas Senior Guard Nina Norman
On her performance: Well, like Coach (Conradt) said, I need to be ready to step up on every possession. Tonight, especially in the second half, my man was collapsing and sagging on Ashley (Lindsey) and Tiffany (Jackson). Tiffany especially found me a lot with passes from the post, and I was wide open for some three and knocked them down today.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi Head Coach Jodi Kest
Her general thoughts: We struggled early shooting the ball. They (Texas) had a big height advantage, but we are used to that. We've played Baylor, LSU, Nebraska this year with big players, and Michigan State in the past. We had the offensive rebounds, but the difference was that UT was scoring on the offensive rebounds and we weren't. We took unbalanced shots at first. Then, we got more relaxed and started to take better shots.
When we started out down 18-4, we didn't panic. I felt like we were unbalanced and I told them to take better shots and go out and play hard. Once they played relaxed, we were OK. We came out too tense and were really hyped to play. Our goal has always been to go to the NCAAs, and these are the kinds of games we need to play for the opportunity to go.
When TAMUCC cut the lead to seven (52-45) and Texas answered with a 10-4 run: That really hurt us when Norman hit those 3's at that point. Our defensive strategy was to be a sagging man-to-man and double and triple team the posts. At times, we were late and that hurt us. We wanted to sag off everyone except Arriaran, since she's such a great shooter. Norman did what she had to go. We felt like we would let her have her 3's, not No. 4 (Arriaran) and she stepped up and made the 3's.