4:00 PM ET, January 15, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas has been struggling to score and win, so the Longhorns turned to their defense to snap a two-game skid in the Big 12.Tiffany Jackson scored 20 points and Texas (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) forced Oklahoma State into 30 turnovers Saturday for a 63-42 victory."We needed that for our psyche. We haven't been feeling very good about ourselves," said Texas coach Jody Conradt, whose two-time defending conference champs came in with their first Big 12 losing streak since the 2000-2001 season.Texas lost to Texas Tech 79-62 on Wednesday and then-No. 3 Baylor 63-60 on Jan. 8.The Cowgirls knew they might run into desperate team, but couldn't muster a challenge to Texas' defensive pressure. The Longhorns (9-5, 2-2) smothered Oklahoma State with full-court and half-court pressure the entire game."I knew coach Conradt would have this team ready to play with their mad on and ready to take it out on us," said Oklahoma State coach Julie Goodenough."They're fast enough to cover baseline to baseline. They're a scary defensive team when they do that," she said.Texas' pressure limited Cowgirls' leading scorer Nina Stone to four points on 2-of-7 shooting and forced her into committing five turnovers.Christian Hood led Oklahoma State (5-9, 0-4) with eight points, but fouled out with more than 7 minutes left.Oklahoma State outrebounded Texas 33-26, but couldn't overcome mistakes with the ball.Jackson had four steals in the first half and scored eight of Texas' final 14 points of the period to break open a close game."I think my steals were the result of great ball pressure," Jackson said. "When the guards are putting pressure on the ball, that forces the other team to lob passes."Jackson converted a steal and layup into a 3-point play before Jamie Carey hit the Longhorns' only 3-pointer of the game. A steal by Kala Bowers led to a fast break layup by Jackson with 9 seconds left and a 34-18 Texas advantage at the break."You can go through shooting slumps but you should be able to play defense every game," Carey said. "It created a lot of energy and got us rolling."Oklahoma State simply didn't have the depth to keep up in the second. Eliz Gomes, Destanie Sykes and Hood, three players counted on to matchup with Jackson inside, each picked up three fouls in the first half.It was a badly needed win for the Longhorns, who are struggling through a rugged schedule and some disappointing results. Loaded with senior talent, Texas began the season ranked No. 2 but has already matched last season's loss total.And the schedule quickly ramps back up. The Longhorns play Monday at No. 16 Connecticut before hosting No. 2 Baylor next weekend."When you win, that's the bottom line," Conradt said. "We've had some crummy days over the last week or so. Right now there's nothing but optimism."
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