Game #9: No. 22/No. 22 Texas (7-1) at No. 4 Duke (8-0)
Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006; Noon (Central)
Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314); Durham, N.C.
TV: ESPNU (Beth Mowins, play-by-play; Charlene Curtis, color analyst)
Internet TV: none
Radio: KVET Radio (1300 AM) - Texas; WDNC - AM 620 or XM Radio channel 193 (Duke)
Teams at A Glance
National Rankings: Texas: #22 in both Associated Press & USA Today/ESPN polls; Duke- #4 in both AP and USA Today/ESPN polls
The Coaches: Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt (Baylor '63): 38th year overall: 1,183 games: 889-294 (.751); 31st year at Texas: 1,004 games: 772-232 (.770)
Duke Head Coach Gail Goestenkors (Saginaw Valley State '85): 15th season overall (all at Duke): 469 games: 372-97 (.793); record at Duke: same
All-Time Series Record: 4th meeting; Duke leads, 2-1 (Texas is 0-1 at home, 1-1 neutral site)
Win Streak: +1, Duke
Last Meeting: No. 1/2 Duke 84, No. 16/16 Texas 70 (Dec. 4, 2006 at Austin)
Conradt vs. Duke: 1-2
Texas stands 7-1 and enters today's game against No. 4 Duke (8-0) with a four-game win streak ... UT (No. 22) is ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the fifth week in a row, moving up from No. 25 last week ... The Longhorns are No. 22 in the USA Today Top 25 as well after sitting at No. 25 last week when they entered that particular poll... Duke is UT's second Top 25 ranked opponent on the year ... On Nov. 17 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the unranked Longhorns lost a 63-60 decision to No. 23 New Mexico, nearly overcoming a 17-point deficit with seven minutes to play.
Texas is off to its best beginning of the season since a 7-0 start in 2003-04... A win over the Blue Devils would mark the first time that UT would have a five-plus game win streak since earning eight consecutive victories from Feb. 9-March 9 during the 2004-05 season.
The Blue Devils are coming off a 31-4 season which saw them advance to the NCAA championship game, losing to fellow ACC team Maryland in overtime, 78-75.... Duke will be meeting their third Top 25 opponent in a row today, and are coming off victories over No. 19/17 Rutgers (85-45, Dec. 4) and over No. 11/11 Vanderbilt (69-48) Thursday at home... If the Blue Devils defeat Texas, it will mark the fourth time under head coach Gail Goestenkors and the fifth time overall that Duke has began the season with a 9-0 record.
Something's Gotta Give- Texas "D", Duke Offense & "D" All Off to Strong Starts
Texas is out-scoring its opposition by a +24.4 ppg margin, scoring 73.8 ppg to the opponents' 49.4 ppg... None of UT's first eight opponents have scored over 63 points - and the one that reached 63 points (New Mexico) won, 63-60 ... The last time Texas held six consecutive opponents to 63 points or less was in 2004-05 when that 22-9 team held eight straight to 63 or less from Feb. 9 (Nebraska) to Mar. 9 (vs. Oklahoma).
In the Division I team stats, Texas is No. 8 nationally in defense (allowing 49.4 ppg) and No. 12 in both scoring margin (+24.4 and steals per game (13.4) ... UT also is No. 21 in blocked shots per game (6.0 bpg) and No. 22 in field goal percentage defense, limiting the opposition to 33.6 percent shooting.
Duke, true to its undefeated record, also comes in as one of the nation's top defensive teams ... The Blue Devils are No. 2 nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 44.5 ppg and also stand No. 2 in scoring margin (+37.9, 82.4 ppg to opponents 44.5 ppg)... The Blue Devils also are the nation's top-ranked Division I squad in blocked shots (8.3 bpg) and in steals per game (14.4) as well... Offensively, the Blue Devils are a tough team to stop, as they are logging 82.4 ppg - sixth best in the nation.
National Player of the Year and All-America candidate senior Tiffany Jackson leads Texas in scoring (19.8 ppg), rebounding (9.3 rpg), steals (28, 3.5 apg), minutes played (34.5), double-doubles (4) and double-figure scoring games (8), and is second in assists (24, 3.0 apg) and blocks (9, 1.2) ... 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 20 games ... In her Longhorn career to date, the 6-3 National Player of the Year candidate has played in 99 games (79 starts) and has collected 29 double-doubles... Jackson has been in double-figure scoring in 88 percent of those game, logging double-digit scoring 87 times in 99 games.
This will be the fourth game in the series, and Duke leads play, 2-1 ... The teams first met in 2002 in the NCAA Final 16 when No. 3 Duke defeated UT (62-46) on March 23 in Raleigh, NC... Two years later, Texas and Duke opened up the year at the State Farm Tipoff Classic at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.) and UT surprised No. 2 Duke, 85-77 on Nov. 16, 2003 .. That was the first game for now-UT senior Tiffany Jackson, who came off the bench to register a team-high tying 15 points with team-high eight rebounds to go with three steals in 26 minutes ... Last year, in Austin, Duke held the No. 1 ranking (AP poll) and UT was No. 16 when the Blue Devils won, 84-70 on Dec. 4 (see recap below).
Texas Against the ACC
Duke is the only ACC school which Texas will face this regular season ... In all-time games against teams from the ACC, the Longhorns are 13-12 (.520 winning percentage), standing: 0-1 vs. Boston College; 1-1 vs. Clemson; 1-2 vs. Duke; 1-0 vs. Florida State; 1-3 vs. Maryland; 1-1 vs. Miami; 0-1 vs. North Carolina; 5-1 vs. N.C. State; and 3-2 vs. Virginia.
Texas Stat Leaders
As mentioned earlier, National Player of the Year candidate and 6-3 senior Tiffany Jackson leads Texas with team-bests of 19.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 34.5 minutes per contest ... Sophomore G Erika Arriaran chips in with 11.3 points and 3.3 assists per game while adding a team-best 12 3-pointers ... Redshirt freshman F Earnesia Williams (8.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg), freshman G Niqky Hughes (7.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg) and junior G Erneisha Bailey (6.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) round out the stat leaders.
2005 Texas-Duke Game- UT Lost More than Just the Game
Head coach Jody Conradt inserted three freshmen starters into the lineup when No. 16 Texas hosted Duke, ranked No. 1 (AP) and No. 2 (USA Today/ESPN) last Dec. 4 in Austin (won by Duke, 84-70) ... It marked the first career starts - and last games of the year, however - for UT 5-7 rookie point guard Carla Cortijo and 6-1 rookie forward Earnesia Williams ... Williams tore her right ACL on a baseline drive with 4:47 left in the game, and UT down by just seven (74-67) ... Williams was earning rave reviews with her 12 points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals in 14 minutes of play against top-ranked Duke... Cortijo played 31 minutes with six points, six rebounds, three assists and six TO's, but would not return to the court after that game, due to a hyperextended left knee injury which required surgery as well .. It was the same knee which Cortijo tore (ACL) as a senior in high school.
To start the game, Williams scored four of Texas' first six points, Arriaran hit consecutive 3-pointers and Cortijo had five rebounds and two assists as UT pushed a quick tempo against the Blue Devils and held the lead for most of the first half...Duke committed 12 turnovers before finally taking a 39-38 lead into halftime when Alison Bales (nine points, game-high 13 rebounds) scored on a putback with two seconds left... Duke prevailed, however, by shooting 50 percent in the second half and dominating inside, as Monique Curry had a game-high 23 points... UT shot 31 percent in the final half and turned the ball over 12 times...Duke also dominated in points in the paint (44-28) and in rebounding (41-26) ... The Longhorns were led by Arriaran (16 points), senior PG Nina Norman (15) and 12 points from Williams and junior Tiffany Jackson.
Jackson Posts Good Numbers Vs. Duke
In two prior meetings against Duke - in UT's 85-77 season-opening win in Nov. of 2003 and last year, senior Tiffany Jackson has posted strong numbers .. She has collected 27 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks and eight steals while shooting 9-for-21 from the floor and 9-12 in FT's... Last year in Austin, Jackson had 12 points, six rebounds, and team-highs of four blocks and five steals while playing all 40 minutes.. In the 2003 State Farm Tipoff Classic, Jackson played her first collegiate game and came off the bench to register a team-high tying 15 points with team-high eight rebounds to go with three steals in 26 minutes as UT upset No. 2 Duke.
Back-to-Back Big Challenges
Head Coach Jody Conradt is no stranger to demanding scheduling, as the Longhorns annually have a "strength of schedule" ranked among the top eight in the nation.
Texas faces its stiffest back-to-back competition of the year with Sunday's game at No. 4 Duke, followed by a showdown with No. 6 Tennessee one week later ... Texas is at home against No. 6 Tennessee on Sunday, Dec. 17 in an FSN-televised game (12:30 p.m. tip) from the Erwin Center.
For the second year in a row, the Longhorns will play Duke and Tennessee in back-to-back games - and, for the second year, UT is the ONLY team in the nation to meet these two top five teams in back-to-back contests ... Last year, Texas lost at Tennessee (102-61) when the Lady Vols were ranked No. 1 (USA Today/ESPN poll) and No. 2 (AP poll) ... UT then dropped an 84-70 decision to No. 1/No. 2 Duke in Austin on Dec. 4, in a game which saw UT lose freshman F Earneisa Williams and freshman PG Carla Cortijo for the year with knee injuries.
There is only one other team (outside the SEC or ACC) which faces both Duke and Tennessee this year in non-conference games - Old Dominion.
Longhorns are NOT Road Warriors
This is just the second game away from Austin and the Frank Erwin Center for Jody Conradt's Longhorns ... Standing 7-1 overall, UT's only loss came on the road (63-60 at No. 23 New Mexico) ... Nine of Texas' first 11 games are at home this year - the most lop-sided home/away schedule in UT history.
Reasons for this: 1) Texas was chosen to host the four-team, three-day round-robin Basketball Travelers Classic (Nov. 12-14) to start the year; 2) for TV commitments, the annual game with Tennessee was scheduled for mid-December; 3) traditionally, UT faces 3-5 in-state opponents each November and December as well; and 4) coming off just the third losing season in Texas' 32-year basketball history, a home-game buffer was built in to start the year with a team featuring three upper- and 11 underclassmen.
Those 11 underclassmen (five true sophomores, two redshirt freshman and four true freshmen) have contributed impressively to the Longhorns' 7-1 start... Nine have played so far, with sophomore post Mariana Mergerson and freshman forward Kristen Nash yet to see action.
The 11 underclassmen have chipped in with 353 of UT's 590 points - or, 59.8 percent ... In assists, the underclassmen have contributed 70 percent of UT's assists (84 of 120) ... In rebounding, the underclassmen have grabbed 143 of the team's 293 individual boards - 48.8 percent... In steals, the sophomores/freshmen have combined for 52 steals (49 percent), as 55 of the 107 thefts have come from the upperclass trio of senior forwards/posts Tiffany Jackson and Katrina Robinson and junior guard Erneisha Bailey.
Steals Parade- Jackson No. 7 Nationally
Senior Tiffany Jackson has led UT in steals in each of her first three years, and this season is no exception ... Collecting 28 steals to date, she is averaging 3.5 thefts per game to rank No. 7 nationally in that category.
In her career, the 6-3 Jackson has 261 steals to rank No. 8 in the Texas record books - 17 thefts shy of the No. 7 spot, held by former All-America point guard Kamie Etheridge (1982-86) ... Jackson is one of only three forwards/posts to rank that high in career steals.
Shooting Strong From the Floor
In a contrast to last year's team which connected on 50 percent of its shots (or more) just one time, this year's Longhorn squad has reached/surpassed 50 percent accuracy four times - all four coming in the last six contests, including the last three games in a row... On the year, UT is hitting at a .455 clip from the floor... UT shot a season-high 51.8 percent against Oral Roberts on Nov. 25 and has followed by hitting 50 percent in wins over Southern and Texas-Pan American (Nov. 30, Dec. 4).
One of the woes of last year's Texas team was a low field goal shooting percentage, as UT finished the year hitting .391 percent of its shots ... Only once (in a 70-62 win over Nebraska on Jan. 18) did the Longhorns reach or surpass 50 percent shooting from the floor ... That .391 marked only the SECOND time in 29 years (since 1976-77) that UT ended the year shooting less than 42.5.
Arriaran Finding the Touch
Sophomore guard Erika Arriaran, who is rotating between point and shooting guard, has been in double-figure scoring three times in the last four games ... She is shooting 53 percent from the floor in these four games (18-for-34), with nine of those 18 field goals coming from 3-point territory... Arriaran is 9-for-14 from long range in these four games, making 64.3 percent of her treys... This includes a career-best night from behind the arc in UT's last game when she was 5-for-7 against UT-Pan American.
The 5-10 player, one of five named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team last winter, is second in UT scoring (11.3) and first in 3-pointers made (12), taken (33) and assists (26, 3.3 apg).
Lindsey Making Her Mark
After a slow start, 6-4 sophomore Ashley Lindsey is heating up at both ends of the floor ... Last year's top shot blocker (54, 1.9 bpg), Lindsey contributed 5.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a rookie.
This year, she has played in all eight games off the bench, averaging 12.6 minutes, 3.3 ppg and 2.1 rpg... However, Lindsey has been strong in the last four games, hitting for double-digit scoring twice with 10 points (vs. Sam Houston State) and a career-high 15 points in UT's last game (vs. Texas-Pan American) on Dec. 4 ... In both games, she also had a season-best five rebounds, and rejected six shots against UTPA, which ties her career high.
In these last four games, Lindsey has registered: 37 points (9.3 ppg), 15 rebounds (3.8 rpg), 11 blocks (2.8 bpg) while shooting an impressive 15 for 19 from the floor - hitting 78.9 percent of her field goals.
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 70.7 percent accuracy (133-189).
Williams Ready to Go
Redshirt freshman forward Earnesia Williams should be ready for Sunday's game with Duke after she was held out of Wednesday's game with UT-Pan American ... The 6-1 forward is coming off ACL left knee surgery (last January), and still experiences swelling, so her minutes have been limited to start the year ... Williams has started all six of the games she has appeared in and stands third in UT scoring (8.0 ppg) while hitting at a 57.1 percent clip from the floor (20-35) - second best among all players ... Williams can play the "three" and "four", and will rotate between those spots.
Record Watch for Arriaran & Jackson
Texas sophomore guard Erika Arriaran has moved to the No. 10 spot in career 3-pointers made after going 5-7 in treys against UT-Pan American ... Arriaran has 12 treys this year and 58 in her career ... She surpassed Kala Bowers (56, 2001-05) for the No. 10 spot and is now 24 treys shy of the No. 9 spot, held by Nekeshia Henderson, who had 82 treys from 1991-95.
Senior Tiffany Jackson leads the team in free throws made (45) and taken (68), hitting at a 66.2 percent clip from the foul line ... Jackson moved into the No. 4 spot in UT career free throws made with five against Oral Roberts, surpassing Edwina Brown (373, 1996-2000), and now has made 389 in her career... In the third career spot is Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil who made 415 in her career (from 1985-89)... Jackson needs 26 more made FT's to tie Davis-Wrightsil.
Jackson also stands No. 12 in all-time rebounds with 824... She is 32 rebounds away from the No. 11 position, held by Heather Schreiber (856 in her four years from 2001-05).