Game #34: NCAA Championship First Round (Greensboro Regional)
No. 8 seed Texas (21-12) vs. No. 9 seed Minnesota (20-11)
Sunday, March 23, 2008 · approx. 8:30 p.m. Central
Arena at Harbor Yard (10,000) · Bridgeport, Conn.
TV: ESPN2 and ESPNU (Bob Picozzi, play-by-play; Mary Murphy, color analyst; Rebecca Lobo, sideline reporter)
Radio: KVET 1300 AM (Central Texas) -- Dave Garrett, play-by-play; Carol Ross, color analyst
Internet Video: ESPN360.com
Game Day Information
In the National Rankings: Texas is in the "also receiving votes category" in both the Associated Press and USA Today Top 25 polls
In Conference Regular Season Play: Texas (7-9, tied for 7th in Big 12); Minnesota (11-7, third in Big Ten)
Texas Head Coach Gail Goestenkors (Saginaw Valley State '85): 16th year overall: 528 games: 417-111 (.790); first year at Texas: 33 games: 21-12 (.636) ... Big 12 final regular season record: 7-9 (.438)
Minnesota Head Coach Pam Borton (Defiance '87): 10th year overall: 307 games: 201-106 (.655); 6th year at Minnesota: 192 games: 132-60 (.688)
All-Time Series Record: fourth meeting - Texas leads the series, 3-0
Texas' Home/Away/Neutral Record vs. Minnesota: 1-0 at home; 0-0 away; 2-0 at neutral sites
Series Win Streak: +3, Texas
Last Meeting: Texas 73, Minnesota 60 (NCAA West Region Sweet 16, Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif., March 30, 2003)
Texas and NCAA Championship Quick Facts (entering 2008 NCAA First Round)
Texas' All-Time NCAA Championship Appearances: 22 (tied for THIRD-BEST all-time)
Years in NCAAs (22): 1983-94, 1996, 1997, 1999-2005
All-Time NCAA Games/Record: 51 games: 31-20 (.608)
Last NCAA Championship Appearance: 2005 as a No. 3 seed in NCAA Midwest Region (advanced to 2nd Rd.) ... def. #14 seed Oral Roberts (64-47), lost to #6 seed Georgia, 70-68 (Reunion Arena, Dallas)
Texas All-Time Top Finishes
1986 NCAA Champions (34-0, first team to go undefeated in Division I play)
Final Four (3): 1986 (CHAMPIONS), 1987, 2003
Final Eight (8): 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2003
Sweet 16 appearances (11): 1983-90, 2002, 2003, 2004
Texas' Record in NCAA First Round: 7-4 (10 times had 1st-round byes) ... Second Round: 12-6
Final 16: 8-3 ... Elite Eight: 3-5 ... Final Four: 2-2 (1-2 in semifinals, 1-0 in title game)
Texas First-Year Head Coach Gail Goestenkors' NCAA Championship Record/Results
(all games as Duke University head coach)
13 appearances (1995-2007); 49 games: 36-13 (.735)
Top finishes: National Championship game (1999, 2006); Final Four semifinals: 2002, 2003
Nine consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 showings (1998-2007)
No. 8 seed Texas from the Big 12 Conference is 21-12 overall and 5-1 in its last six games as it enters NCAA Championship play for the 22nd time in program history ... Those 22 NCAA appearances tie Texas for the THIRD-MOST NCAA showings ever (tied with Stanford and Virginia) ... Texas received one of the 33 at-large selection to this year's tourney ... The Longhorns, under the direction of first-year head coach Gail Goestenkors, return to the "Big Dance" for the first time since 2005 when they lost in the second round ... Texas is 31-20 all-time in NCAA action (.608) ... In 2008 Big 12 regular season play, the Longhorns and Iowa State tied for seventh (7-9) in the league standings ... Texas is coming off a 2-1 mark in Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship play, advancing to the tourney's semifinals last week.
The No. 9 seed Minnesota Golden Gophers stand 20-11 and finished third in the Big Ten regular season standings (at 11-7) ... This is Minnesota's seventh NCAA showing and their fifth in six years (did not go last year) ... Minnesota stands 10-6 in NCAA play.
Tonight's winner will advance to the Tuesday, March 25th second-round action against the winner of No. 1 seed Connecticut (32-1) and No. 16 seed Cornell (20-8) who meet in first-round play prior to the Texas-Minnesota matchup.
In Elite Company
There are only NINE Division I teams which have made 20 or more NCAA Championship appearances, and Texas is among those nine ... The Longhorns, who opted to go to the AIAW Championship instead of the NCAA in the one year which saw AIAW and NCAA championships take place (1982), has made 22 NCAA showings, tied for third-most all-time appearances with Stanford and Virginia ... Tennessee (27 appearances) and Georgia and Old Dominion (25 apiece) are the all-time leaders.
Zero NCAA Playing Experience for Longhorns
For the first time in Texas history, the Longhorns enter NCAA tourney play with NO ONE having prior postseason playing experience ... (Even when UT played in their first NCAA tourney in 1983, it had players who had participated in the AIAW national tournament the year prior) .... There is only ONE senior on the Longhorns squad - 5-9 starting guard Erneisha Bailey ... Her freshman year in 2004-05 was the last time UT made an NCAA postseason showing, but although Bailey was in uniform for the games against Oral Roberts (first round) and Georgia (second round), she did not see any action ... In 2006, Texas went 13-16; in 2007, the 18-14 Longhorns were not invited to the NCAAs and did not play in the WNIT.
Texas Against the 2008 NCAA Championship Field
Texas has faced 45 of the other 63 teams in the 2008 NCAA field, and in all-time games against these 45 squads, the Longhorns are 304-156 (.661) in 460 contests ... In prior NCAA Championship competition, Texas has met 17 of these opponents, playing 19 games while compiling an 11-8 mark (.579).
This year, Texas has faced 12 of the other 63 teams in the 2008 NCAA tourney, playing 18 games while compiling an 8-10 mark (.444) against them to date ... Five of these 18 are non-conference opponents and seven are from Texas' own Big 12 Conference ... This 8-10 record breakdown is against the following squads: Arizona State (1-0), Baylor (2-1), DePaul (1-0), Iowa State (1-0), Kansas State (0-1), Nebraska (0-1), Oklahoma (2-1), Oklahoma State (0-2), San Diego (1-0), Tennessee (0-1), Texas A&M (0-2), Virginia (0-1).
Coach G in the NCAAs
Texas Coach G (Goestenkors) has now led her charges to 14 consecutive NCAA Championship showings ... She had brought her last 13 Duke University squads to the NCAA Championships from 1995-2007 prior to taking over the Texas coaching reigns this past April... Goestenkors built Duke into a national championship contender, going 36-13 in all-time NCAA play (.735) with four Final Four showings in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006 ... In 1999 and 2006, Duke made NCAA title game apperances ... They also went to nine consecutive Sweet 16 showings from 1998-2007.
Goestenkors and Minnesota's Pam Borton will square off for the second time in NCAA Championship history as well ... In the 2004 NCAA Mideast Region final, Minnesota beat Duke, 82-75, to advance to their only Final Four.
Longhorn Stat Leaders
The three Longhorn scoring leaders each earned 2008 All-Big 12 Conference honors ... Versatile sophomore guard Brittainey Raven, an All-Big 12 Second Team pick, tops the team in scoring (15.4 ppg), is second in both steals (61, 1.9 spg) and assists (102, 3.1) and is fourth in rebounding (4.4 rpg) ... Junior 6-4 post Ashley Lindsey (11.3 ppg) and 5-7 redshirt sophomore point guard Carla Cortijo (10.0 ppg) both were All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selections .... Lindsey is first in rebounding (6.9) and first in blocked shots with 89 (2.7 bpg)... Lindsey ranks No. 13 nationally in blocked shots and also has six double-doubles, a team high.
The team's floor general from her point-guard spot, Cortijo tops the team in assists, dishing out 161 for a 4.9 assist per game average ... Freshman guard Kat Nash (8.4 ppg) follows in scoring and is second in rebounding (6.4 rpg)... The 6-2 Nash usually comes off the bench as the Longhorns' "sixth man" and leads UT in 3-pointers made (43) and taken (107), in 3-point percentage (.402) and in free throw percentage (.851, 57-67)... Texas' final two starters - 6-1 redshirt sophomore forward Earnesia Williams (7.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and the lone senior, 5-9 guard Erneisha Bailey (7.4 ppg), follow in the stat columns ... Bailey is third in rebounding (4.7 rpg), assists (61, 1.9 apg) and steals (53, 1.6 spg).
Texas is out-scoring its overall opposition by +9.9 ppg (70.2 ppg to opponents' 60.2 ppg) ... UT holds a +2.8 edge on the boards (40.3 rpg to opponents' 37.5 rpg), having out-rebounded or tied in rebounding 22 of its' 33 opponents ... Texas is 17-5 in these games with a rebounding edge .... Texas also has a positive turnover margin (+3.1, 17.1 to's/game to opponents' 20.2 turnovers per game) and ranks No. 22 nationally in blocked shots per game with 4.9 rejections per game.
A Look at Minnesota
The Golden Gophers finished in a tie for third in the Big Ten Conference regular season standings (11-7) ... Minnesota is led by 5-9 junior guard Emily Fox, an All-Big Ten First Team standout who pumps in 17.0 points per game and collects a team-best 4.2 assists per game ... Fox finished Big Ten league play fourth in conference scoring (17.2) and second in steals (2.9 spg) ... Senior Leslie Knight, a 6-1 forward, gained All-Big Ten Second Team honors, while 6-2 sophomore forward Ashley Ellis-Milan was named to the Honorable Mention Team ... Knight is second in scoring (13.8 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.7 rpg), while Ellis-Milan is third in scoring (10.1 ppg) and second in rebounding, pulling down 7.2 boards per game.
Texas Numbers Under New Coach G
With first-year head coach Gail Goestenkors at the helm, 21-12 Texas has won its most games since the 2004-05 season when UT finished 22-9 and advanced to the NCAA second round ... That is the last time UT went to the NCAAs as well ...Texas is holding the opposition to 37.2 field goal shooting, the third lowest FG percentage defense in UT history ... Texas also is on track to set the single season free throw percentage mark, as the squad currently hits at a .735 clip from the free throw line ... The school record is .722, set in '03-04)... Also, UT finished Big 12 regular season play first in league steals/average (156, 9.75) for the first time in league history.
Texas and Minnesota Series- Meet Again in NCAA Play
This is the fourth game between Texas and Minnesota in women's basketball, with UT leading the series, 3-0 ... The two squad met 30 years ago to start the series, playing in March of 1978 (a 91-56 Texas win in the first round of the NWIT National Tournament where Texas placed second) ... The two teams then met in Austin on Dec. 14, 1978 with UT winning 114-53 ... Then, in the most recent meeting, the Longhorns and Golden Gophers squared off at the 2003 NCAA Sweet 16 at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, California on March 25 ... That game saw fifth-ranked Texas stop No. 17/18 Minnesota, 73-60, en route to the Longhorns' third Final Four showing.
Texas and Minnesota have met three common opponents this year - Virginia, Kentucky and Iowa State, all NCAA participants as well ... Texas and Minnesota both went 2-1 against these three as both defeated Kentucky and Iowa State while losing to Virginia ... Two of them (Virginia and Kentucky) participated at the same November tournament that UT and Minnesota were at - the Wahine Classic Tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii ... Yet, Texas and Minnesota did not meet up, because unranked Virginia upset the No. 21 Longhorns, 86-83 (Nov. 23) in first round play to move into the tourney's winner bracket semifinals against Minnesota ... In that round, Virginia stopped the Golden Gophers, 73-62 (Nov. 24) after Minnesota had opened the tourney with a 92-80 win over Kentucky ... Texas and Kentucky then met in the second round, with UT winning, 72-60 (Nov. 24) ... Texas faced Iowa State on Jan. 16 in Austin, defeating the Big 12 opponent 59-56 ... Prior to that, Minnesota upended ISU by a 69-61 score on Dec. 21 in Minneapolis.
Texas All-Time Against the Big Ten Conference
Minnesota is the first Big Ten opponent for the Longhorns this season ... Texas stands 32-9 all-time against Big Ten competition, a winning percentage of 78 percent ... Texas' all-time record against Big Ten opponents stands: 3-0 vs. Illinois, 1-0 vs. Indiana, 2-1 vs. Iowa, 2-1 vs. Michigan State, 3-0 vs. Minnesota, 2-0 vs. Northwestern, 8-2 vs. Ohio State, 7-3 vs. Penn State, 2-2 vs. Purdue and 2-0 vs. Wisconsin ... Prior to this NCAA first round game, the last Big Ten opponent that Texas faced was Purdue last season... Unranked Texas pulled off the upset against No. 10/11 Purdue, winning 64-61 in Austin last Jan. 7, 2007.
Texas vs. Connecticut, Cornell
A win over Minnesota will advance Texas to the second round to face either top-seeded UConn or Cornell on Tuesday, March 25 ... Texas and Cornell have never met in women's basketball play ... UT and UConn have met three times, with Connecticut winning all three games- in the 2003 Final Four (Atlanta) semifinals, 71-69 (April 6, 2003); in Storrs, Conn. (73-57, Jan. 17, 2005) and in Austin (71-58, Feb. 12, 2006).
It's So Raven - No Sophomore Slump Here
Brittainey Raven is enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign ... Named to the All-Big 12 Second Team on March 7, the 6-0 combo guard (15.4 ppg) has been in double-figure scoring in 32 of the 33 games to date - more than doubling her freshman year scoring totals when she hit 10-plus points 10 times in 32 games for 18-14 Texas ... Raven is averaging nearly eight points a game more than she did as a freshman when she averaged 7.9 ppg.
In the last six games, Raven has notched 100 points - a 16.7 ppg average - while leading Texas to a 5-1 mark in this span ... Twice in this string she scored 20-plus points, with 21 against Kansas (March 27) and 20 in UT's March 5 game against Texas Tech ... Raven has been UT's leading scorer in 58 percent (19 of 33) of UT's games to date, and is one of only two players to score 20-plus points, doing it five times ... In addition, Raven is second in assists with 102 assists (3.1 apg), a big increase from her 51 assists and 1.6 apg a year ago... Raven also is second in team steals with 61 (1.9/game)... Raven has had five or more assists eight times and has four or more steals three times.
Who's Hot for the Horns
In addition to Brittainey Raven's play, junior post Ashley Lindsey put up solid numbers in the Big 12 tourney ... Lindsey logged her sixth double-double of the year against Texas Tech in first round play (March 11) with 14 pts/10 rebounds) ... She also had 11 rebounds in the setback to No. 17 Oklahoma State in the semifinals, which was the ninth time this season that she collected double-figure rebounding totals ... Redshirt sophomore forward Earnesia Williams set three career highs in the upset win over No. 9/8 Baylor in the quarterfinals (March 12) ... Williams had career-bests in rebounds (13), assists (5) and steals (6) ... Freshman forward Kat Nash has reached double-figure scoring in three of the last four games ... This included a 14-point game against Texas Tech (Big 12 first round) and a 14-point, 7-rebound effort against Oklahoma State ... Nash has been in double-figure scoring 11 times to date... In these last four games, she collected 40 points on 14-for-25 shooting overall and went 7-for-14 from 3-point range... She also added 18 rebounds In these four games.
Big 12 Sends Eight Teams to the NCAA Big Dance, Big Ten Sends Four
Both the Big 12 Conference and Big East Conference are sending eight teams to the NCAA Championships - the most by any conference. The other seven Big 12 teams playing in the Big Dance are: No. 2 seed Texas A&M (26-7, Oklahoma City Regional), No. 3 seed Oklahoma State (25-7, New Orleans Regional), No. 3 seed Baylor (24-6, Spokane Regional), No. 4 seed Oklahoma (21-8, Oklahoma City Regional), No. 5 seed Kansas State (21-9, New Orleans Regional), No. 7 seed Iowa State (20-12, Greensboro Regional) and No. 8 seed Nebraska (20-11, Spokane Regional).
The Big Ten Conference sends four teams to the 2008 NCAAs- Minnesota, co-champion Ohio State (a No. 6 seed, New Orleans Regional), co-champion Iowa (a No. 9 seed in the New Orleans Regional) and Big Ten tourney titlist Purdue (No. 9 seed, Oklahoma City Regional).
Most Recent Texas Play
Texas brings road momentum into the NCAA Championship having gone 5-1 in its last five games - with five of the six played away from Austin and its own Frank Erwin Center court ... On the bubble for a NCAA berth in late February, Texas won its last three regular season games and picked up its first two Big 12 road wins in the process ... Texas won at Kansas (57-53) before upsetting No. 10 Oklahoma (65-50) in Norman, Okla., and then closed out the regular season with a win at home over Texas Tech (70-55).
Texas finished in a tie for seventh in the BIg 12 regular season (with Iowa State), and gained the No. 7 seed in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri by virtue of its win over ISU (59056, Jan. 16) ... Texas then went on an impressive tourney run, going 2-1 to advance to the semifinals for the sixth time .... Texas defeated No. 10 seed Texas Tech (75-63, March 11) before upsetting ninth-ranked and second-seed Baylor, 76-61 in the quarterfinals one night later ... Texas overcame a 16-point deficit at intermission (40-26) to post the 15-point win over the No. 2 seeded Lady Bears... That is the biggest halftime deficit ever overcome by a winning team in the history of Big 12 Championship play ... UT was paced by a career-high 24 points from guard Carla Cortijo and a career-high 13 rebounds from second-year forward Earnesia Williams ... That set the stage for the semifinals against No. 18/17 Oklahoma State, and the third-ranked Cowgirls upended UT, 75-72 on March 13.
Phillips 66 Big 12 Tourney Stat Leaders
In the win over Baylor, UT was paced by a career-high 24 points from guard Carla Cortijo and a career-high 13 rebounds from second-year forward Earnesia Williams ... In the three-game tourney, Cortijo led the Longhorns... She was third in assists (17, 5.7 apg), sixth in steals (8, 2.7 spg), fourth in assist-turnover ratio (5.7 apg, 2.0 to's, 2.33) and 11th overall in scoring with 15.7 ppg, followed by Brittainey Raven (16th with 14.3 ppg) .. Ashley Lindsey was fourth in blocks (2.7, 8) and 12th in rebounding (7.7), with Williams tied for 13th (7.0 rpg)...Raven also was sixth in assists (14, 4.7 apg).
Put 'Em On the Line in the Last Two Minutes
Already on pace to set the school single season free throw percentage mark, the Longhorns also have been stellar from the free throw line in the final two minutes of the game ... This is a crucial stat when you see that 13 games have been decided by 10 points or less - including nine of their last 16 contests ... The Longhorns are a hitting a crisp 80-for-95 from the foul line in the final 120 seconds, hitting 84.2 percent down the stretch ... Texas sank an important 15 of 16 free throws in the final 1:48 in the March 2nd win over No. 10 Oklahoma (65-50).
Point guard Carla Cortijo is 30 for 34 in foul shots in the final 120 seconds, connecting on 88 percent ... Against OU, Cortijo was eight-for-eight from the foul line in the final 1:48 ... Shooting guard Brittainey Raven is 17 for 20 (.850) in the last two minutes, and senior guard Erneisha Bailey is 10-14 (.714).
And the Rebounding Edge Goes To ....
A big part of UT's success can be found in the rebounding stats, as the Longhorns have out-rebounded 19 of their 33 opponents, tied three others while being out-rebounded by 11 opponents ...The Longhorns are 15-4 in games they have held the edge on the boards and 2-1 when tying in rebounding ... In the 16 Big 12 regular season games, however, Texas held the rebounding edge just five times and tied three other times while being out-rebounded in eight contests.
... off-court with the Texas Team .. DID YOU KNOW?..
· redshirt sophomore forward Earnesia Williams and true sophomore guard Brittainey Raven are team co-captains, marking the first time in UT's history that non-seniors were voted captains ... former Texas head coach Jody Conradt would have senior captains annually
· speaking of Earnesia Williams ... after the UT loss to Texas A&M on Feb. 24 at home - a third loss in a row which put Texas in danger of missing out on an NCAA berth, head coach Gail Goestenkors instituted a "Hustling Horns" award for each game ... Goestenkors announces the award post-game to the player who accumulates the most points for hustle plays (tips, steals, offensive rebounds, creating a turnover, taking a charge, securing a loose ball) ... the "HH" game winners were averaging 15-17 points until Williams raised the bar and set the new "Hustling Horn" standard in UT's upset win over Baylor in the Big 12 tourney semis - with 27 points !
· speaking of Brittainey Raven .. the versatile fleet-footed sophomore is the team's best singer ... she breaks into song and rhyme often (during warmups, in the locker room, on the team bus)... Raven says her idol is music sensation Beyonce, for her singing talents and for her philanthropy and work with her foundation
· staying on the musical bent ... redshirt sophomore guard Crystal Boyd is a talented musician in her own right, playing the keyboard and composing her own beats and songs ... she hopes to work in the music industry upon graduation
· starting 6-4 post Ashley Lindsey relies on her imposing "wingspan" (measuring fingertip to fingertip) of 6-feet, 7 3/4 inches for her defensive prowess and shot-blocking abilities
· the creative flair of starting point guard Carla Cortijo extends off-court as well ... Cortijo sketches, designs and sews her own clothing, and is a rare collegian with a sewing machine in her dorm room ! Taught to sew by her seamstress grandmother, Carla loves "Project Runway", reads fashion magazines and hopes to be in the fashion design world after finishing up with basketball
· you may notice that junior post Aubry Cook is sporting a two-tone hair color - her natural dark locks along with a burnt orange streak of color in the back ... Cook, who had red streaked hair last year, went with the burnt orange look after the Texas A&M loss - and vows to keep the color since Texas is 5-1 since that point in time
· Kristen and Kathleen (Kat) Nash are the third sister duo in Texas basketball history
· it's Earnesia (Err-NEE-see-ah, 4 syllables) Williams and Erneisha (Err-NEE-sha, 3 syllables) Bailey in the starting lineup...they also are distinguished by their nicknames of E-Dub and Earnie (for Williams) and E-Bay (for Bailey)