Game #7: Southern (0-4) at No. 22/No. 25 Texas (5-1)
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006; 7 p.m. (Central)
Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
Radio: KVET 1300 AM The Zone
O-Zone (Student Section) Giveaways: $25 Hoover's Cooking gift certificate
Tickets (season, single game, group and mini-packs) for all Texas Basketball games are available for purchase in the following ways: online at TexasBoxOffice.com; by phone at 800-982-BEVO or 512-471-3333; at the Erwin Center Box Office during business hours and one hour prior to tipoff on game day; and at the UT Athletics Ticket Office in Bellmont Hall (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. CT).
National Rankings: Texas: #22, Associated Press Top 25 Poll, #25, USA Today/ESPN Poll
The Coaches: Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt (Baylor '63): 38th year overall: 1,181 games: 887-294 (.751); 31st year at Texas: 1,002 games: 770-232
Southern Head Coach Sandy Pugh (Northwestern State '87): 9th season overall: 266 games: 191-75 (.718); 6th year at Southern: games: 180 games: 115-65 (.639)
All-Time Series Record: 4th meeting; Texas leads, 3-0 (1-0 at home; 2-0 neutral)
Win Streak: +3, Texas
Last Meeting: Texas 72, Southern 57 (NCAA Championship First Round, March 21, 2004, at Austin)
Conradt vs. Southern: 3-1
Texas is 5-1 to start the year ... Texas is off to its fastest start since 2003-04 when the Longhorns began the year 7-0... All five of UT's wins have come at home ... UT stands No. 22 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 Poll, up from its No. 25 ranking the first three weeks of the poll ... UT makes an appearance in this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Preseason Poll at No. 25 after being in the "also receiving votes" category the last three weeks.
Texas won its second game in a row with Saturday's 79-40 win over Oral Roberts ... That game saw 6-3 senior forward Tiffany Jackson log a game-high 21 points with eight rebounds and four steals, while 5-10 sophomore guard Erika Arriaran added 11 points and 5-9 junior guard Erneisha Bailey notched her second double-double of the year (10 points, game-high 10 rebounds).
Southern University from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is 0-4 to start the year ... Southern started the year with setbacks to Marshall (61-50), Kent State (85-51), Oklahoma State (86-46) and to UT's last opponent, Oral Roberts, (88-46 on Nov. 22).
Texas "D" Strong to Start
Texas is out-scoring its opposition by a +19.3 ppg margin to start the year, as UT is scoring 74.0 ppg to the opponents' 54.7 ppg... None of UT's first six opponents have scored over 63 points - and the one that reached 63 points (New Mexico) won, 63-60 ... The opposition is shooting just 35.3 percent from the floor to UT's 44.1 percent ... The last time Texas held six consecutive opponents to less than 63 points took place in 2004-05 when that 22-9 team held eight straight foes to 63 points or less from Feb. 9 (Nebraska game) to March 9 (vs. Oklahoma).
Back on Track at Home
The Longhorns have enjoyed great traditional success at home, and are off to a 5-0 record at the Erwin Center this season ... Last year was a struggle, however, as Texas finished 8-7 at the Erwin Center ... That 8-7 mark followed three great years where UT was 15-0 (2002-03 Final Four season), 16-0 (2003-04) and 13-1 (2004-05)... In all-time games at the Erwin Center, Texas is now 374-60 after 434 contests - an 86.2 winning percentage.
Although All-America candidate senior Tiffany Jackson saw her four-game streak of double-doubles come to a close when she logged 21 points and eight boards against Oral Roberts on Saturday, her numbers overall remain quite impressive ... Jackson leads Texas in scoring (21.0 ppg), rebounding (10.7 rpg), steals (21, 3.5 apg), minutes played (36.2) and is second in assists (18, 3.0 apg) and blocks (7, 1.2)... She is one of only three Big 12 players averaging more than 20 points per game, and her 3.5 steals per game leads all Big 12 players.
Last year, she had eight double-doubles in an injury-plagued season, with six of them coming in the final 12 games... This translates into Jackson registering a double-double in 10 of her last 18 games ... In her Longhorn career to date, the 6-3 National Player of the Year candidate has played in 97 games (77 starts) and has collected 29 double-doubles... Jackson has been in double-figure scoring in 88 percent of those game, logging double-digit scoring 85 times in 97 games.
Texas Stat Leaders
As mentioned earlier, National Player of the Year candidate and 6-3 senior Tiffany Jackson is averaging a double-double with team-bests of 21.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest ... In wins last week over Sam Houston and Oral Roberts, senior forward Jackson showed her versatility by collecting 35 points, 22 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and seven steals while shooting 12-for-24 from the floor.
Joining Jackson as stat leaders are 5-10 sophomore guard Erika Arriaran (11.3 ppg, team-high 19 assists), 6-1 redshirt freshman forward Earnesia Williams (8.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg), 5-9 junior guard Erneisha Bailey (8.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and 6-1 freshman guard Niqky Hughes (7.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg) ... Redshirt freshman Carla Cortijo, UT's 5-7 point guard, is first in assists with her 4.3 assists per game average... Cortijo, who has played in four of UT's six games, adds 5.3 ppg.
In series play between the Texas and Southern, UT leads, 3-0 ... All three prior games have been postseason contests... The last time these two squads met was in the 2004 NCAA Championship first round (West Region, at Austin on March 21, 2004) when the Longhorns posted a 72-57 victory ... Prior to meeting in the 2004 NCAAs, Texas and Southern met in 1981 and 1978, both in AIAW regional action ... Texas won in 1978 (85-69, March 8) and in 1981 (73-52, March 14 in the AIAW quarterfinals).
A Look at Southern
The 0-4 Jaguars, from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), are led by Preseason All-Conference pick Fredrieka Lewis ... The 6-4 sophomore is averaging 9.5 ppg and 3.8 rpg ... Junior forward Krystal Huggins (8.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg) follows in the scoring column ... Junior guard Tiffany Jones (3.5 ppg) is the leading rebounder with 4.5 boards per game and the team's assist leader as well (11, 2.8 apg).
Texas All-Time Against The SWAC
Southern is the only SWAC opponent on UT's schedule this year ... Texas stands 9-1 in all-time games against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, going 1-0 vs. Alcorn State, 2-1 vs. Prairie View A&M, and 3-0 against both Southern and Texas Southern.
Put 'Em on The Foul Line
The three players Texas wants to see making trips to the free throw line are sophomore guard Erika Arriaran, redshirt freshman Carla Cortijo and senior forward Katrina Robinson ... Between the three, they are hitting at a 91.7 percent clip from the charity stripe, going 33-for-36, with Robinson a perfect 6-for-6 and Cortijo (9-10) and Arriaran (18-20) following with 90 percent accuracy... As a team, the Longhorns have been strong at the line with a 70.6 accuracy.
Bailey Tough on the Boards
One of the smaller players in the UT lineup, junior guard Erneisha Bailey is playing big on the boards ... The 5-9 player has pulled down 49 rebounds in the first six games for an 8.2 rpg average - second-best on the team to Tiffany Jackson's 10.7 rpg ... She has been in double-figure rebounding four times.
In the three-game Basketball Travelers Classic, All-Tournament Team pick Bailey put together back-to-back-to-back career nights on the boards with 11 rebounds against Maryland-Eastern Shore and 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette, followed by 10 against Texas State ... Her prior single-game rebound high was six boards, set last year against Connecticut on Feb. 12, 2006 in Austin... Bailey also had a career-high 17 points in the win over Texas State (prior high was 11 vs. TAMU-Corpus Christi, Dec. 21, 2005) as she logged her first career double-double with that 17-point, 11-rebound effort ... Bailey is coming off her second double-double, posting a 10-point, 10-rebound effort in the win over Oral Roberts on Nov. 25.
Texas Ranks No. 3 in All-Time AP Poll Appearances
Texas and head coach Jody Conradt rank No. 3 in all-time Associated Press Top 25 appearances... Since the AP Poll began in the mid-1980's, there have been 520 weeks of AP voting... Through the week of Nov. 20, here are the top five "poll positions" established by particular Division I coaches during their tenures:
Coaches All Time Ranking Appearances (521 Possible Weeks of Rankings)
(through the Poll of Monday, Nov. 27, 2006)
1. Pat Summitt, Tennessee - 507 (missed just 14 polls in entire AP history)
2. Andy Landers, Georgia - 399
3. JODY CONRADT, TEXAS - 390
4. C. Vivian Stringer (3 schools - Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) - 348
5. Rene Portland (2 schools - St. Joseph, Penn St.) - 336
Boyd, Mergerson Cleared to Play
Head coach Jody Conradt has welcomed back two players to practice over the last week, and both are cleared to resume playing time in games .... Sophomore Crystal Boyd, a 5-11 shooting guard, had been out all preseason and through last week, nursing a broken left foot ... She sustained the injury on-campus in September in a bicycle accident ... Also, 6-3 sophomore post Mari Mergerson is ready for play after rehabilitating from left knee surgery that she underwent this summer... Mergerson missed all of the preseason with the recovery and rehab... Last year, Boyd came off the bench in 26 games, averaging 2.6 points and 8.5 minutes per contest ... Mergerson has been saddled with knee issues since her senior year in high school ... Last year, she was cleared to play in mid-January and saw action in 11 of the final 12 games, registering 7.2 minutes and 3.7 points per contest.
Next Up: Conclusion of Homestand, Then to No. 4 Duke and Home Against No. 5 Tennessee
The Longhorns finish their four-game homestand -- their longest of the year -- against UT-Pan American on Wednesday, Dec. 6 (7 p.m.) ... Then, Texas faces its stiffest back-to-back competition of the year when it travels to Durham, N.C. to face No. 5 Duke (Sunday, Dec. 10, noon on ESPNU TV) ... One week later, Texas is at home to go up against No. 4 Tennessee on Sunday, Dec. 17 in an FSN-televised game from the Erwin Center with a 12:30 p.m. tip.