NCAA Championship Second Round (Greensboro Regional)
No. 8 seed Texas (22-12) vs. No. 1 seed Connecticut (33-1)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 · approx. 8:15 p.m. Central
Arena at Harbor Yard (10,000) · Bridgeport, Conn.
TV: ESPN2 & ESPNU (Bob Picozzi, play-by-play; Mary Murphy, color analyst; Rebecca Lobo, sideline reporter)
Radio: KVET 1300 AM (Central Texas): Craig Way, 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; Connecticut is No. 1 in both polls
In Conference Regular Season Play: Texas (7-9, tied for 7th in Big 12); Connecticut (15-1, first in Big East)
Texas Head Coach Gail Goestenkors (Saginaw Valley State '85): 16th year overall: 529 games: 418-111 (.790); first year at Texas: 34 games: 22-12 (.647) ... Big 12 final regular season record: 7-9 (.438)
Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma (West Chester '81): 23rd year overall (all at Connecticut):
775 games: 654-121 (.844)
All-Time Series Record: fourth meeting - UConn leads the series, 3-0
Texas' Home/Away/Neutral Record vs. UConn: 0-1 at home; 0-1 away; 0-1 at neutral sites
Series Win Streak: +3, Connecticut
Last Meeting: UConn 71, Texas 58 (Feb. 12, 2006, at Austin, Texas)
Texas and NCAA Championship Quick Facts (entering 2008 NCAA Second Round vs. UConn)
· 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: 52 games: 32-20 (.615)
· Last NCAA Championship Appearance (Prior to this Year): 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, TX)
· 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: 8-4 (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 except March 23 vs. Minnesota as Duke University head coach): 13 straight appearances (1995-2007): 49 games: 36-13 (.735)
· Top finishes: National Championship game (1999, 2006); Final Four semifinals: 2002, 2003
nine consecutive Sweet 16 showings (1998-2007)...1st Round/2nd Round All-Time Record: 14-0/10-3
Tonight's Teams: No. 8 seed Texas from the Big 12 Conference is 22-12 overall and 6-1 in its last seven games ... Texas advanced to the second round with Sunday's 72-55 win over No. 9 seed Minnesota, while No. 1 seed Connecticut (33-1) defeated No. 16 Cornel, 89-57, in Sunday's first round play... Texas is making its 22nd overall NCAA Championship showing, with 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, have returned to the "Big Dance" for the first time since 2005 when they lost in the second round ... Texas is 32-20 all-time in NCAA action (.615) ... In 2008 Big 12 regular season play, Texas and Iowa State tied for seventh (7-9) in the league standings and No. 7 seed Texas advanced to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship semifinals, going 2-1 in the league tourney... This is the fourth meeting between UConn and UT, a series led by UConn, 3-0.
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 UT Before This Week
For the first time in Texas history, the Longhorns had entered 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 305-156 (.663) in 461 contests counting the first-round win over Minnesota... In prior NCAA Championship competition, Texas has met 17 of these opponents, playing 20 games while compiling a 12-8 mark (.600).
This year (counting the Minnesota game), Texas has faced 13 of the other 64 teams in the 2008 NCAA tourney, playing 19 games while compiling a 9-10 mark (.474) against them to date ... Six of these 19 are non-conference opponents and seven are from Texas' own Big 12 Conference ... This 9-10 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), Minnesota (1-0), 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).
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 (15.5 ppg), is second in both steals (64, 1.9 spg) and assists (104, 3.1) and is fourth in rebounding (4.4 rpg) ... Raven led the way in the win over Minnesota, netting double-digit scoring (team-high 19 points) for the 33rd time in 34 games this year ... Junior 6-4 post Ashley Lindsey (11.1 ppg) and 5-7 redshirt sophomore point guard Carla Cortijo (9.8 ppg) both were All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selections .... Lindsey is first in rebounding (6.9) and first in blocked shots with 93 (2.73 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 166 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 (44) and taken (111), in 3-point percentage (.396) and in free throw percentage (.841, 58-69)... Texas' final two starters - 6-1 redshirt sophomore forward Earnesia Williams (7.7 ppg, 4.8 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)... Bailey netted a season-high 16 points and added six rebounds in the win over Minnesota.
Texas is out-scoring its overall opposition by +10.1 ppg (70.2 ppg to opponents' 60.1 ppg) ... UT holds a +2.9 edge on the boards (40.3 rpg to 37.4 rpg), having out-rebounded or tied in rebounding 23 times ... Texas is 18-5 in these games with a rebounding edge .... Texas also has a positive turnover margin (+2.9, 17.1 to's/game to opponents' 20.1 to's/ game).
A Look at the Minnesota Game
The Longhorns' top scorer - sophomore guard Brittainey Raven -- netted a team-best 19 points as UT posted its 72-55 win over Minnesota in Sunday's first round ... Texas got season-highs in points from senior guard Erneisha Bailey (16 points) and a season and career-best in rebounds from freshman Kat Nash (7 boards) in the victory as well... The Longhorns held the Golden Gophers (20-12) to 17.9 percent shooting in the first half and to 31.1 percent overall ... That 17.9 percent shooting was the second-lowest shooting half of the year by a Texas opponent, with the lowest being 17.1 shooting in the first half by Lamar (Nov. 15) ... UT led at the break, 32-18, and those 18 points allowed were the fourth-lowest first-half point total by any Texas opponent this season ... Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors kept her first-round perfect record intact, moving to 14-0 in all-time NCAA first round games.
Texas Numbers Under New Coach Goestenkors
With first-year head coach Gail Goestenkors at the helm, 22-12 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...Texas is holding the oppostion to 37.0 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 (currently .738; record is .722 in `03-04)... Also, UT finished Big 12 regular season play first in league steals/average (156, 9.75) for the first time.
Coach G in the NCAAs
Texas first-year head coach Gail Goestenkors knows tremendous success when it comes to NCAA Championship play ... As mentioned above, Coach G has led her charges to 14 consecutive NCAA Championships- bringing her last 13 Duke University squads to the NCAAs 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) making four Final Four showings in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006 ... In 1999 and 2006, Duke made NCAA title game appearances ... They also went to nine consecutive Sweet 16 showings from 1998-2007.
Goestenkors has good prior success playing here at the Arena at Harbor Yard, as her Duke squads won 2006 Sweet 16 and Final 8 games here in Bridgeport .... That year, Duke edge Connecticut in the regional final, 63-61 in overtime, to advance to the Final Four in Boston where the Blue Devils finished second to Maryland (losing in OT in the title game).
The Texas-UConn Series: Teams Meet Again in NCAA Play
This is the fourth game between Texas and Connecticut in the sport of women's basketball, with UConn leading the series, 3-0 ... In the first meeting, Connecticut won at the 2003 Final Four semifinals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, 71-69 (April 6, 2003) en route to winning the NCAA title... The two squads then played in back-to-back regular season games, with the Huskies winning in Hartford, Conn. (73-57, Jan. 17, 2005) and then in Austin (71-58, Feb. 12, 2006).
In all-time games coached against Connecticut (all at Duke), UT head coach Gail Goestenkors is 2-2 against the Huskies... The last time a Goestenkors-coached team faced UConn was in that 2006 NCAA regional finals here in Bridgeport, won by Duke 63-61 (overtime) on March 23, 2006.
Texas Vs. Top 10 This Year
Connecticut will be the second No. 1 ranked team that Texas will meet this year and the sixth top 10 ranked team ... On Nov. 18, in Texas' third game, the Longhorns lost to No. 1 Tennesseee in Knoxville, 92-67 ... In games against top 10 foes to date the Longhorns are 2-3, having defeated No. 8/8 Baylor (61-51, Feb. 12 in Austin) and No. 10/10 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. (65-50, March 2).
Texas All-Time Vs. The Big East Conference
Connecticut is the second Big East Conference opponent for the Longhorns this season ... On Dec. 28, Texas faced then-ranked No. 12 DePaul in the first round of the Maggie Dixon Surf N Slam Classic in San Diego ... Texas came away with the 91-81 win en route to winning the tourney the next day with an 81-79 victory over host San Diego ...Texas stands 17-10 all-time against Big East competition, a winning percentage of 63 percent ... Texas' all-time record against Big East opponents stands: 0-3 vs. UConn; 2-0 vs. DePaul; 2-0 vs. Georgetown; 2-0 vs. Louisville; 1-0 vs. Marquette; 1-1 vs. Notre Dame; 1-0 vs. Pittsburgh; 6-5 vs. Rutgers; 1-0 vs. St. John's; 1-1 vs. Seton Hall.
Texas and UConn have met two common opponents this year - Virginia and DePaul, both NCAA participants as well... Texas went 1-1 against these two teams, defeating No. 12/13 DePaul, 91-81 in San Diego (Dec. 28) after losing to Virginia, 86-83 on Nov. 23 in the first round of the Wahine Classic in Honolulu ... UConn went 3-0 against them, defeating Virginia (75-45) at home on Dec. 5 before stopping DePaul twice in Big East action - 77-76 on March 1 at DePaul in regular season action, and 86-67 at the Big East tournament quarterfinals (March 9).
Big 12 Goes 8-0 in First Round Play
For the first time in NCAA Division I women's tournament play, a league has gone 8-0 in first-round action, as the Big 12 Conference has accomplished that with a perfect first-round performance this year ... A conference has placed eight teams in NCAA play a total of six times... The best record before this year was when the Big East Conference teams posted a 7-1 mark in first-round action last season in 2007.
Ready for the Road Down the Stretch
After a dismal 0-6 start to Big 12 play on the road, the Longhorns won their last two league away games to finish 2-6 in league road games ... Only once in the last seven games has Texas play in Austin, with the two road games, three neutral-site Big 12 tourney contests in Kansas City, and then Sunday's game against Minnesota here ... UT has gone 5-1 in this six-game span of away contests and carries that road momentum into tonight's game ... This year, Texas went 11-3 at home in Austin and is 11-9 away from Austin (5-7 in away games, 6-2 at neutral sites).
Texas Push Down the Stretch- Big 12 Tourney Semifinalists
Texas is 6-1 in its last seven games - with six played away from Austin ... 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 tied 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... 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.
Going Against Top 25 Opponents
Texas stands 6-7 against Top 25 competition to date- going 3-3 in its last six meetings against Top 25 foes ... UT's 11 showdowns against Top 25 opponents were against: then-#1 Tennessee (a 92-67 loss), followed by wins against then-#23 Arizona State (62-51, Dec. 20), #12 DePaul (91-81) and #13/14 Oklahoma State (70-63, Jan. 23) before losses to #6/6 Baylor (61-60, Jan. 30), #11/10 Oklahoma (74-58, Feb. 3), #21/20 Texas A&M (66-57, Feb. 9), #16/17 Oklahoma State (71-66, Feb. 20) and #21/19 Texas A&M (65-50, Feb. 24)... UT broke that three-game losing streak against the Top 25 with the 61-51 upset win over #8 Baylor (Feb. 13), and followed that with the March 2nd 65-50 victory at #10/10 Oklahoma.
UT's last two games in the Big 12 Championship were against Top foes: Texas upended No. 9/8 Baylor (76-61) and lost to No. 19/18 Oklahoma State (75-72) in the semifinals on March 13
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 17 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).
It's So Raven - No Sophomore Slump Here
Brittainey Raven is enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign ... Named to the All-Big 12 Second Team, the 6-0 combo guard (15.5 ppg) has been in double-figure scoring in 33 of the 34 games - more than doubling her freshman year scoring totals when she hit 10-plus points 10 times in 32 games for 18-14 Texas ... Raven averages nearly eight points a game more than she did a year ago (with 7.9 ppg).
In the last seven games, Raven has notched 119 points - a 17.0 ppg average - leading Texas to a 6-1 mark in this span ... Twice in this string she scored 20-plus points (21 against Kansas, 20 in March 5 game against Texas Tech) ... UT's leading scorer in 59 percent (20 of 34) of UT's games to date, Raven is one of only two players to score 20-plus points, doing it five times ... Raven also is second in assists with 104 assists (3.1 apg), a big increase from her 51 assists a year ago, and is second in steals with 63 (1.9/game).