Junkanoo Jam recap: Longhorns return as champions
AUSTIN, Texas -- A weary but thankful and happy Texas women's basketball team returned to Austin late Sunday afternoon from the Junkanoo Jam Tournament in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, where the No. 18 ranked Longhorns won the Junkanoo Jam title (Lucaya Division) on Saturday with a 59-54 victory over George Washington. Sunday's trip home began with 4:30 a.m. (Eastern, 3:30 a.m. Texas time) wake-up calls at the hotel, and a 5:30 a.m. bus boarding for the airport.
The trip took the Longhorns from Freeport to Miami, where a three-hour layover awaiting the team. Plenty of study hall time was accomplished during that span, and then the Longhorns embarked for Dallas and, finally, to Austin.
The Longhorns, now 3-1, had won their opener over South Carolina, 59-55. Contributions in the two-game tourney came from all 14 players who suited up and saw action, as UT head coach Jody Conradt summed up the winning performances as "a total team effort".
All-America junior forward Tiffany Jackson and 5-10 freshman guard Erika Arriaran were UT's representatives on the five-member All-Tournament Team.
Jackson collected 22 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and eight steals in the two-game tourney. The 6-3 junior, marred by foul trouble in the South Carolina game, finished that game with eight points, five boards and three steals before responding with her first double-double of the season (14 points, game-high 11 rebounds) against George Washington. Arriaran was UT's leading scorer both games, netting 14 points in the opener and 15 points in the win over GW. Arriaran finished the tourney with 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists and five steals and went nine-for-10 from the foul line.
Texas now must put the fun, sun, beach and two Junkanoo Jam victories behind them and focuse on a demanding week of play. UT will carry a three-game win streak into a brutal two-game set against the nation's two top ranked teams - Tennessee and Duke. The Longhorns will return to action on Thursday, Dec. 1, when they complete a three-game road trip, playing at Tennessee, which is ranked No. 1 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 and No. 2 in the Associated Press Poll. That game will be a 6 p.m. (Central) tip at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, and will air live on ESPN2. The Longhorns own a four-game series win streak over the Lady Vols - the longest all-time win streak in the country against Tennessee.
Following that game, Texas returns home to host the nation's other No. 1 ranked squad - Duke - on Sunday, Dec. 4 (12:30 p.m.) in a game live on FSN (FOX Sports Net) TV. Duke stand first in the AP Top 25 Poll and second in the USA Today/ESPN poll.
Texas is the only team in the country to face Tennessee and Duke in back-to-back games this regular season. In addition, Texas joins Old Dominion, Maryland and Auburn as the only schools with Tennessee and Duke on their 2005-06 regular season schedules.
All Texas women's basketball games, home and away, also air on commercial radio at KVET (1300 AM) in the Austin area. On the internet, all games are available via in a subscription-based service, which can be accessed at TexasSports.com.
For ticket information, call 512-471-3333 or 1-800-982-BEVO. For charge-by-phone, you can call 512-477-6060. Tickets can be purchased in person at the following locations: Bellmont Hall Athletics Ticket Office (Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m-4 p.m. Central); and at any Texas Box Office location, including the Frank Erwin Center (Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and game days prior to tipoff) or at Austin area H-E-B stores.