9:00 PM ET, February 14, 2004
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- In an otherwise ugly game, Texas made some beautiful plays down the stretch.Stacy Stephens had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Tiffany Jackson hit a key layup with 1:30 left and Texas (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today, No. 1 AP) held off No. 12 Colorado 51-45 Saturday night.Jackson added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Texas (23-2, 11-1 Big 12), which posted its ninth straight victory despite shooting 26 percent -- its worst performance of the season.Colorado (19-4, 8-3) got 10 points and 12 rebounds from Randie Wirt, and Anna Nedovic also had 10 points. Tera Bjorklund, the Buffaloes' leading scorer and rebounder, scored only five points before fouling out with 7:59 remaining.Colorado shot just 32 percent and committed 18 turnovers."It's one of those games where you know it's going to be in the ugly column," Texas coach Jody Conradt said. "You just have to try to gut it through. Both teams made plays down the stretch, but we just happened to make a few more."Playing better defense as the game progressed, the Longhorns "kept hitting the boards, got some steals and made some stops," Conradt said.Texas also was solid from the foul line, making 10 of 12 free throws in the final six minutes."That's something we have consistently done," Conradt said. "We missed some early, but when we had to make them, we did capitalize."Texas point guard Jamie Carey said her team "found a way to win. It's not always pretty. You can't count on every single shot falling, and certainly tonight it was nowhere near that. But you can counter with offensive rebounds, hustle plays and just hanging together, and I think that's what we did tonight."Texas, which trailed 25-18 at halftime, opened the second half with an 18-8 run, capped by Mercedes Williams' three-point play, for a 36-33 lead with 9:43 left.Wirt's two free throws put Colorado back in front 41-39, but the Longhorns then began converting from the free throw line. Jackson's layup, on a pass from Heather Schreiber, was Texas' lone field goal during that span and gave the Longhorns a 48-43 lead."That was a huge basket," Conradt said. "It was probably the turnaround in terms of what we did on the offensive end."Anna Nedovic hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 48-45 with 1:15 to go.After an exchange of turnovers, Texas' Nina Norman made one free throw with 12.4 seconds left, and Schreiber hit a pair with 3.5 seconds to go.Williams made two steals in the waning minutes.Bjorklund, who played only 22 minutes, picked up her fourth and fifth fouls just 23 seconds apart in the second half."The fact that Tera was out for both halves was a factor," Colorado coach Ceal Barry said. "But our team is not centered on one person. We did a good job without her."We let them get to the line in the second half, and that was the difference. You're not going to win games like that."Nedovic scored eight points in the first half to spark the Buffs. Colorado shot only 31 percent in the half, but Texas was even worse at 22 percent.In the first eight minutes, the Longhorns went 1-for-11 and committed four turnovers as Colorado jumped out to an 8-2 lead.Texas scored the next seven points, including five by Stephens for a 9-8 lead.Nedovic's 3-pointer with 6:34 left gave Colorado a 14-11 lead, and she hit another 3-pointer for a 21-15 lead with 1:50 remaining. Wirt's driving layup pushed Colorado's lead to 23-15.Amber Metoyer's two free throws with 22.5 seconds left gave the Buffaloes their biggest lead of the half, 25-16.
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