2:00 PM ET, January 22, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- With the losses mounting in a frustrating season, the Texas Longhorns desperately needed a win.They got a big one Saturday over a key Big 12 rival.Nina Norman scored 17 points, including eight in a key two-minute stretch late in the second half, to lead Texas (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) to a 69-55 win over Baylor (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) on Saturday.It was a huge win for the Longhorns (10-6, 3-2), who had lost four of their previous six games in a season that started with them ranked No. 2 and with expectations of reaching the Final Four. One of those losses came against Baylor two weeks earlier."You can go from feeling really bad to really good in the swing of just one game," Texas coach Jody Conradt said."We showed a lot of confidence and heart out there," senior guard Jamie Carey said. "It's been a tough week. It was great to see that again, to see fight, to see the passion."Tiffany Jackson added 18 points and eight rebounds for Texas, which closed the game with a 15-2 run.Sophia Young led Baylor (13-3, 3-2) with 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Lady Bears didn't score a field goal over the final 7:48."Texas had a sense of urgency and we didn't match it," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said.Texas led 54-53 when Norman simply took over the game over the final four minutes. She started the run with a pair of free throws and then slipped underneath on an inbounds pass to convert an easy layup with just four seconds left on the shot clock.Then she grabbed a defensive rebound and went the length of the court for a layup that made it 60-55. Norman then forced two Baylor turnovers and the Longhorns steadily pulled away. Annissa Hastings scored the Longhorns' final five points, all of them from the free-throw line."This one helped our pride, a lot, and will get us going," Norman said.Defensively, Texas clamped down on Baylor's tough frontcourt duo of Young and Steffanie Blackmon, harassing them near the basket and rarely giving them easy entry passes.Those two had combined for 44 points and 21 rebounds when Baylor beat Texas but didn't come close to matching that again. Blackmon had just three points and four boards this time around."Once they catch the ball, it's pretty hard to stop them," said Longhorns forward Heather Schreiber, who was often posted up with Young near the basket. "We had to put pressure on their guards to keep them from lobbing the ball over us."Baylor outrebounded Texas 43-31 but committed 25 turnovers, including five in a row during the Longhorns' final run.The turnovers were critical early, when Baylor twice held nine-point leads in the first half but couldn't put away a Texas team that missed 15 of its first 17 shots."That's when we lost it, guys. It's hard enough to win on the road. You've got that big a lead and you can't extend it? That's hard for me to believe," Mulkey-Robertson said.The Longhorns fought back from their horrid shooting start to briefly grab a 25-24 lead in the final minute of the first half on Norman's jumper.Baylor quickly retook the lead when Young snared a tough pass to convert a layup. Baylor then stripped the ball from Kalee Carey and Chameka Scott hit a 3-pointer from deep in the left corner at the buzzer to make it 29-25 at the break.Baylor couldn't capitalize on the momentum.Jaime Carey's long 3-pointer put Texas up 35-33 and Jackson scored six straight points as the Longhorns built a seven-point lead. Jackson was just 3-of-13 against Baylor in the previous meeting but was dominant under the basket this time."Tiffany came out really strong today," Young said. "She was much more physical than I was."Jamie Carey hit another 3-pointer and Jackson made two free throws that made it 53-47. Baylor managed to pull within one but missed its last 12 shots."When you can do a defensive job on their inside players like we did today, I think you say, 'Hats off to everybody on the floor,'" Conradt said.
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