No. 19/23 Texas (6-3) at No. 9/9 Rutgers (8-1)
Friday, Dec. 30, 2005: 6 p.m. (Central)
at the Louis Brown Athletic Center - The RAC (capacity 8,000), New Brunswick, N.J.
Game Day Information & Quick Facts
TV: CSTV (in Austin Area: on Time Warner Cable digital service: Channel 438; on DIRECTV: Channel 610; on DISH Network: Channel 152)
Internet TV: none
Radio: Texas: KVET Radio/Sports Radio 1300 (1300 AM), Austin; WCTC (1450 AM) Radio and WRSU (88.7 FM) Radio- New Brunswick
Teams at A Glance
National Rankings: Texas: #19, Associated Press; #23, USA Today/ESPN; Rutgers: #9, Associated Press; #9, USA Today/ESPN
Last Year: Texas (22-9, NCAA 2nd Rd.); Rutgers (28-7 NCAA Elite Eight)
All-Time Series Record: 11th meeting: UT leads, 6-4 ... (Texas is 2-2 at home, 1-1 away, 3-1 neutral)
Series Streak: +3, Rutgers
Last Meeting: Jan. 2, 2005: #24 Rutgers 51, #4 Texas 47
Last Texas victory: Jan. 25, 1992: Texas 82, Rutgers 56
Texas Coach Jody Conradt (Baylor '63): 37th year overall: 1,156 games: 875-281 (.757); 30th year at Texas: 977 games: 758-219 (.776)
Rutgers C. Vivian Stringer (Slippery Rock '71): 34th year overall: 978 games: 731-247 (.747); 11th year at Rutgers: 94 games: 211-112 (.653)
Jody Conradt vs. Rutgers: 6-4
Quick Glance at the Teams
Texas, ranked No. 19 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 Poll, brings its 6-3 mark and a three-game win streak into tonight's game against No. 9 Rutgers (8-1) ... Texas' No. 19 rank in this week's AP poll is up one spot from No. 20 last week) ... UT stands No. 23 in the USA Today/ESPN weekly poll - its same position as last week... Rutgers is No. 9 in both polls for another week ... The Longhorns are coming off a 77-65 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi behind senior Nina Norman's 15 points and a double-double (14 points/14 rebounds) from freshman post Ashley Lindsey ... Those 14 rebounds are Lindsey's career best ... Lindsey shot 7-12 from the floor and also had three blocks.
Rutgers, saw its eight-game win streak snapped in its last outing - a 67-57 loss at Mississippi on Dec. 14 ... Before breaking for the Christmas holiday, the Scarlet Knights tuned up for tonight's game with an exhibition game on Dec. 18, defeating St. Thomas Aquinas, 78-44, behind senior forward Michelle Campbell's 17 points.
UT Embarks on 3-Game Road Swing on National TV
The win over TAMU-Corpus Christi ended Texas' four-game home-stand - its longest home-stand of the year ... Starting tonight, Texas hits the road for three straight nationally-televised road games against tough opponents - this ties UT's longest road swing of the year ... Following tonight's game, Texas begins the Big 12 Conference slate with games at undefeated (9-0) Kansas (Jan. 3, 6 p.m. on CSTV) and at defending NCAA titlist and No. 4/4 Baylor (Sat., Jan. 7, 3 p.m. on FSN) ... To date this year,Texas is 4-2 at home, 0-1 in away games and 2-0 at neutral sites.
Rutgers is Third Top 10 Opponent for Longhorns
Once again, Texas is playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation ... This week, according to the CollegeRPI.com, UT's schedule is the toughest in the nation ... The Scarlet Knights are the third top-10 ranked opponent in UT's first 10 games ... In December, Texas met the nation's top two teams (Tennessee and Duke) in back-to-back game, as the Longhorns are the only team to meet these two squads in consecutive games this regular season ... Texas is 0-2 against the Top 25 to date, losing at Tennessee (102-61, Dec. 1) and then to Duke (84-70, Dec. 4) in Austin ... Of this week's AP Top 25 teams, a total of seven are on Texas' regular season schedule - No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Duke, No. 4 Baylor, No. 8 UConn, No. 9 Rutgers, No. 16 New Mexico and No. 20 Oklahoma... Texas also lost to New Mexico in the season opener prior to New Mexico being ranked.
CollegeRPI.com Released - Longhorns 9th with Nation's TOUGHEST Schedule
In this week's CollegeRPI.com, the Longhorns are ranked No. 9 overall with a strength of schedule of No. 1 ... Tennessee, Baylor and Connecticut are the top ranked teams in the RPI ... Rutgers stands No. 46 in the RPI, and its schedule is ranked No. 132.
1,606 Victories on Sidelines Tonight
Patrolling the sidelines tonight are the No. 2 and No. 3 winningest coaches in Division I women's basketball - Jody Conradt and C. Vivian Stringer ... Conradt brings 875 wins into the game (875-281) in this her 37th collegiate season overall, while Stringer has 731 wins (731-247) in her 34th season ... Conradt was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, Mass.) in October of 1998 and was a member of the inaugural class of inductees (June 1999) into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (Knoxville, Tenn.) ... Stringer went into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Texas Stat Leaders
Versatile All-America 6-3 junior Tiffany Jackson leads the Longhorns in scoring (14.3 ppg), rebounding (7.7 rpg) and steals (25, 2.8 spg) and is second in blocks (18, 2.0 bpg) and fourth in assists (13) ... Freshman Erika Arriaran (11.7 ppg) and senior Nina Norman (8.4) follow in scoring, with Arriaran first in UT assists (23, 2.6 apg), free throw percentage (.880, 22-25) and 3-pointers (13) ... Freshman 6-4 post Ashley Lindsey (7.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is next, with UT's next two leading scorers (freshman PG Carla Cortijo, 7.5 ppg and freshman F Earnesia Williams, 5.2 ppg, out with injuries) ...Through nine games, Jackson has been in double-figure scoring seven times, a team high... In the last six games, Jackson has been in double digit scoring, collecting 98 points (16.3 ppg average) ... Texas' defense has been strong in the last three games, holding opponents to just 56.7 ppg (a total of 170 points).
This is the 11th meeting between Texas and Rutgers ... Texas leads series play, 6-4, but Rutgers holds a three-game win streak in the series ... Last year at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin on Jan. 2, the No. 24 Scarlet Knights upset No. 4 Texas, 51-47 behind a 13-0 run over the last 8 1/2 minutes of the game... That win snapped Texas' 41-game home winning streak - the longest active home win streak in the nation at the time ... That win was the second of three that Rutgers had in a 10-day span against three top-10 teams (also defeated No. 8/8 Tennessee, 65-51 on Dec. 29 and No. 1/1 LSU, 51-49 in OT on Jan. 5).
Prior to last year, the two teams had met on Dec. 18, 1999 when the No. 16 Scarlet Knights topped Texas, 68-64 at Rutgers ... Texas' last win against Rutgers took place on Jan. 25, 1992- an 82-56 win n Austin ... In games played against Rutgers at the RAC, the Longhorns stand 1-1 ... UT is 2-2 in home games against Rutgers and 3-1 at neutral sites.
Texas and Rutgers Game a Year Ago
Senior Jamie Carey scored 13 points and sophomore Tiffany Jackson added 12 points to lead the No. 4/3 Longhorns in the 51-47 loss to No. 24 Rutgers... The Scarlet Knights overcame an 18-point deficit and out-scored the Longhorns 13-0 in the final 8:30... Freshman Matee Ajavon scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the second half for Rutgers.
Texas (7-3) led 40-22 early in the second half before Rutgers rallied behind three Ajavon jumpers to cut Texas' lead to 45-38 with 9:20 left before UT senior forward Heather Schreiber countered with a layup to give the Longhorns a 47-38 advantage with 8:30 to go - but it would be UT's last points of the game... Ajavon's two baskets gave Rutgers a 49-47 lead, and Essence Carsons' jumper with 12 seconds left helped seal the win.
Rutgers hit just six of its first 26 shots in the first half as the Longhorns led 36-20 at the break... Texas had last lost a home game in January, 2002 (to Kansas State)... The Rutgers loss was the only loss in a three-year home-court stretch from 2002-03; UT went 44-1 in this span.
Texas vs. the Big East Conference
Rutgers is the first of two Big East opponents for the Longhorns this year, as UT will face Connecticut in Austin on Feb. 12 on ESPN2 ... In all-time games against the newly-expanded 16-team Big East, the Longhorns stand 14-9 (60.9%) ... Last year, Texas dropped game to Rutgers and No. 16 UConn (73-57, Jan. 12) ... UT's all-time record against the Big East: 0-1 vs. Boston College; 0-2 vs. UConn; 1-0 vs. DePaul; 2-0 vs. Georgetown; 1-0 vs. Marquette; 1-1 vs. Notre Dame; 1-0 vs. Pittsburgh; 6-4 vs. Rutgers; 1-0 vs. St. John's; and 1-1 vs. Seton Hall ... Texas has never faced the other Big 12 members.
In the NCAA Statistics
The NCAA released its third week of Division I national statistics on Dec. 19... There is no statistical update for the Christmas holiday... Texas ranked No. 5 nationally in blocked shots per game in the last stats, averaging 7.4 rejections per contest... The Longhorns are led by 6-4 freshman Ashley Lindsey who has 37 percent of UT's bocked shots (25 of 67) ... Lindsey is averaging 2.8 blocks/game and is ranked No. 15 nationally ... The NCAA blocks leader is Duke (8.8 bpg) ...UT also is No. 24 nationally in steals (103, 11.4 spg).
The Scarlet Knights were ranked No. 16 in scoring defense last week, allowing just 51.6 ppg, and were No. 20 in field goal percentage, shooting 47 percent from the floor as a squad ... Individually, senior point guard Cappie Pondexter ranks No. 13 in Division I scoring with her 21.2 ppg average.
Texas Injury Report, Roster Deletion
The Texas sideline has resembled a "Mash Unit" for the last two months... Starting the year with a 15-player roster, the Longhorns currently have 11 available players for tonight's game ...Three of UT's seven rookies from the nation's No. 1 recruiting class of a year ago are sidelined.
UT has lost the services of 6-0 freshman F Earnesia Williams (5.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg) for the year due to an ACL right knee injury which will require reconstructive surgery ... Williams, a 6-0 scholastic All-American and Gatorade State Player of the Year out of Sapulpa,Okla., suffered the ACL injury during the Dec. 4th game against No.1 Duke...Williams was making her first college start and was injured on a baseline drive to the basket with 4:47 left in the game... She finished with a season-high 12 points to go with three rebounds, one assist and two steals in 14 minutes.
Freshman point guard Carla Cortijo, has been held out of the Longhorns' last three game and all practices due to left knee issues, and will miss tonight's game as well ... The high school All-American from Bellaire, Texas underwent MRI testing (magnetic resonance imaging) on Dec. 12, and it showed that the her surgically-repaired left knee is hyper-extended... Cortijo continues to be evaluated ... Prior to missing the last three games, Cortijo had played in Texas' first six games, gaining the first start of her career against No. 1 Duke ... She is averaging 19.7 minutes per game and ranks fifth in UT scoring (7.5 ppg) and third in assists (14, 2.3 apg) ... Cortijo also is hitting at an 85 percent clip (17 for 20) from the foul line.
Freshman post Mariana Mergerson (Duncanville, Texas) has not yet played .. The scholastic All-American missed the majority of her senior year in HS with an ACL injury, then played the final seven games... This fall, she underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is working herself back from that.
Texas also saw its roster reduced when 6-5 junior post Kalee Carey left the team on December 7th due to personal reasons... Carey had played 10 minutes this year in two games... Carey saw action in 31 games as a reserve post, scoring 98 points with 72 rebounds.
Youth Will Be Served
Texas has eight returning letterwinners and a class of seven freshmen ...This is the largest rookie class in Texas head coach Jody Conradt's tenure ... This class was selected as the nation's No. 1 recruiting class by the All-Star Girls Report recruiting service...Texas' fields a team of four seniors, one junior, two sophomores and seven freshmen... Air Force has the youngest women's hoop squad (13 underclassmen).
Despite an ankle injury which forced her to miss six days of practice prior to the New Mexico season opener, 6-3 All-America junior forward Tiffany Jackson started strong ... The National Player of the Year candidate had 17 points and a team-best six rebounds along with three steals in 28 minutes of play... Seeing little action in the next two games (83-33 win over Sam Houston State with six points and five rebounds, and then foul-plagued against South Carolina with eight points and five boards), Jackson rebounded with her first double-double of the year with 14 points and 11 boards in the 59-54 win over George Washington in the Junkanoo Jam finals... She was named Tourney MVP.
Jackson is coming off five strong outings: a 13-point, six-rebound effort against No. 2/1 Tennessee; a 12-point, 6-rebound, 4-block, 5-steals effort vs. No. 1/ 2 Duke; then- season-high 19 points versus S.F. Austin; her second double-double (season-high 27 Jackson has now been in double-figure scoring in 84 percent of her collegiate games (63 times in 75 games) ... She also has a team-high 19 double-doubles (double-figure rebounding and scoring) in her career ... Senior guard Nina Norman (one) and freshman post Ashley Lindsey (two) are the only other current Longhorns to have a double-double.
Longhorn Record Watch
Senior guard Nina Norman has 359 all-time assists to stand No. 8 in all-time UT steals ... She is 44 away from the No. 7 spot, held by Angie Jo Ogletree (403, 1993-97)... Norman led the Longhorns in assists the last two years, dishing out a career-best 142 in 35 games (4.1 as a sophomore) and 98 more a year ago (3.5 apg) in 28 contests.
With 122 career blocks, Tiffany Jackson stands No. 6 in career rejections .. She surpassed former All-American Stacy Stephens (121, 2000-04) with five blocks against TAMUCC on Dec. 21... Jackson needs 7 blocks to tie for the No. 5 position, held by Tracy Cook (129, 1999-2002), and is 28 blocked shots shy of the No. 4 position.