Jackson's career-high 33 points leads Women's Basketball to 73-68 win over TAMU-Corpus Christi
AUSTIN, Texas -- Behind a career-high 33 points and game-high 14 rebounds from senior Tiffany Jackson, the University of Texas women's basketball team posted a 73-68 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Thursday in a game played in front of 4,209 at the Frank Erwin Center.
Jackson notched her fifth double-double of the year as she surpassed her former career high of 30 points with a 12-for-22 shooting effort from the field and a nine-for-11 performance at the free throw line. Her 14 rebounds also were a season-high and three shy of her career best. Jackson scored 24 of her points in the second half. In the final half, she was nine-for-13 shooting from the floor, scoring on layups, jumpers in the paint and jumpers from the wing.
The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Longhorns (8-3) who lost back-to-back games to No. 4 Duke and No. 5 Tennessee. Texas is now 8-1 at home to date. UT turned the ball over only eight times in the game the least amount of turnovers this year, and used a 50 percent shooting effort in the second half to hold off TAMUCC.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (4-6) broke a three-game win streak. The Islanders turned the ball over 19 times, as Texas held a 19-4 edge in points off turnovers for the contest. The Longhorns also had 14 steals. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has now played two tough games against Big 12 opponents this year, they also lost to No. 9 Baylor, 64-62 in Waco on November 30.
The 33 points by Jackson were the most ever yielded by an Islander team. Jackson was joined in double-figures by Longhorn sophomore guard Erika Arriaran (12 points). Redshirt freshman forward Earnesia Williams added nine points.
TAMUCC had four players in double-figure scoring, with senior guard Nicole Duncan notching 19 points, sophomore center Elisa Beagle logging a double-double with 17 points and a team-high 13 rebounds, senior guard Lewis adding 15 points and senior forward Julianne Duffey had 10. Lewis entered the game as the NCAA Division I leader in steals with 4.6 thefts per game. She had three of TAMUCC's four steals on the night.
With 1:10 left in the game, TAMUCC closed to within three points, 68-65, on a Duncan 3-pointer. After a Texas timeout, the Longhorns countered on their next possession when Arriaran buried a long 3-pointer from the left baseline to give UT the 71-65 lead with 37 seconds left.
The Islanders then went to the foul line on their next two trips down the court, as Duncan made two free throws and Jenesis Shaw the second of two to cut the margin to three, 71-68 with 14 seconds on the clock. Arriaran was fouled as Texas inbounded the ball and the 92 percent free throw shooter went to the line and sank both free throws for the 73-68 edge with 12 seconds left.
Texas led at the break, 29-26 and never trailed in the second half, although the game was tied once. The biggest lead for UT was 10 points (44-34) with 14:35 to play before the Islanders mounted a 12-2 run over the next 4:07 and tied the game at 46-all on a Kirbria Lewis layup with 10:28 remaining.
After that, Texas scored seven of the game's next eight points, on five points from Jackson and a layup by Erneisha Bailey, to take a 53-47 edge with 7:41 left. UT pushed its lead to eight (62-54) with 4:11 remaining before the TAMUCC cut the lead back to three points three times in the waning minutes, the last time with 14 seconds to play.
The first half saw the Longhorns commit just four turnovers - a low for a half this year by UT - and have seven steals as they took a 29-24 lead into halftime.
The Longhorns forced 11 Islander turnovers in the period. The Longhorns and Islanders were both limited by poor shooting, as UT made 32.4 percent of their first-half shots (11-34) and TAMUCC connected on 33.3 percent of its field goals (11-33).
Texas A&M-Corpus Christ started the game strong, and led 12-6 following a jumper by Beagle with 14:54 to play. That was the largest lead that the Islanders would have in the contest, as Texas countered with an 18-7 run over the next nine minutes, and led by five, 24-19, on a Williams jumper with 5:38 to go.
In that 18-7 run, Jackson had six points, four rebounds and a steal, while Williams added six points.
Texas dominated with an 18-8 edge in points in the paint as Jackson had nine of those inside points. Jackson also pulled down seven rebounds in 15 minutes of play in the opening half. On the boards, however, TAMUCC held a 25-20 advantage.
For the game, Texas shot 40.3 percent (25-62). The Longhorns were 21-for-27 from the foul line, including a 15-for-19 effort in the second half. TAMUCC did not go to the line in the first half, but here 14-for-21 in the final 20 minutes.
Although UT held the edge offensively in the paint, out-scoring the Islanders 36-24 inside, TAMUCC out-rebounded the Longhorns by a 44-34 margin.
The Longhorns now break for the Christmas holiday, and will return to action on the West Coast when they participate in the four-team Surf 'N Slam Hoop Classic in San Diego, Calif. on Thursday and Saturday, Dec. 28 and 30. The tourney takes place at the University of San Diego. First-round play on Dec. 28th pits host San Diego against Holy Cross College (8 p.m. Central), while Texas squares off against Oregon State at 10 p.m. (Central).
On Dec. 30th, the third-place and championship games take place at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. (Central), respectively.
Both Texas games will be live on KVET Radio (1300 AM) in Central Texas and also will air via the internet on the subscription-based Yahoo! College Sports (found at TexasSports.com).
Note: The two tournament games which feature San Diego ONLY will be shown on internet video streaming via subscription-based All-Access, found at the USD Web site.
TAMUCC POSTGAME QUOTES
We talk to our kids about getting better every day. I think things clicked for us as a team after the Baylor game (a two-point loss at BU). We knew in our hearts that we probably should have beaten them. Since them, we've gotten closer as a team. They know they can play with anybody now.
We didn't think Texas respected our post players much in the first half we saw them guarding us straight up at times. So, we made a conscious effort to go inside in the second half. Elisa (Beagle) steps up against good competition, and she did that tonight as well.
I know Texas tried to deny Nicole (Duncan) her touches in the first half, and they were successful at it. We knew had to run her off a few more screens to get her open. In the second half, their defensive intensity wasn't what it was in the first half, and she good more looks.
On Tiffany Jackson's game: She is pretty good, first of all! She does a lot of nice things. She is long, athletic and can handle the ball. A lot of our kids don't have the foot speed she has. Jackson presents a lot of matchup problems. We tried to push her off the block as much as possible, but that did not happen in the second half. And, tonight she made some tough outside shots for them. That's why she is a nominee for National Player of the Year.
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
Corpus Christi is a good team. We have seen them enough to know that they are capable of playing the way they played tonight. We executed much better tonight then we have in the last few games. I would have liked us to box out better and not foul as much, but we had everyone helping out there tonight, and that's what a coach wants to see. We kept making clutch shots. We really executed well at the end of the ball game and everyone stepped up and helped. It was good for us to have to buckle down and make our every possession count.
Obviously, we got Tiffany (Jackson) some open looks. We cannot rely on Tiffany, although she is one of the best players in the country. Everyone has to do their thing, and I think we are starting to do that. Others sacrificed themselves tonight to set some good screens. One thing I have talked about a lot in practice this week is taking care of the ball, and the three people who need to do a good job with the ball - Tiffany, Erika (Arriaran) and Carla (Cortijo) - had two total turnovers between them.
All night long, we were giving our best effort and they made some clutch shots time and time again. I think it's a good ballgame to take a break on. It's a good time for a break and we will regroup on December 26th for our trip to San Diego and to prepare for Oregon State. At the San Diego tournament, we hopefully can get two wins which will set us up for the Big 12 schedule which opens in early January."
On the play of Tiffany Jackson (career-high 33 points, season-high 14 rebounds): Tiffany is playing the best basketball of her career right now. She is definitely one of the best players in the country. She has worked hard to increase her shooting range, and you saw that tonight. And, Tiffany was not feeling very well at all before or during the game. She had some dizziness and a headache and ear ache, and might have a sinus condition. We even had to take her out for a bit because of it. So, from that standpoint, it was a very good game on her part.
Again, we need to have her get some looks. Tiffany will be double- and triple-teamed all year long. Tonight, give credit to our entire team. It doesn't matter who scores, we have to help each other. We had some good plays and screen sets tonight.
Senior forward Tiffany Jackson