8:00 PM ET, February 9, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas is keeping its fragile Big 12 title hopes together.Tiffany Jackson scored 19 points and No. 17 Texas stayed in the chase for a third straight league crown Wednesday night with an 83-53 rout of Nebraska.Jamie Carey added 18 points for the Longhorns (14-7, 7-3), who led by 19 at halftime and cruised to their fifth win in the last six games.Texas is the two-time defending regular season Big 12 champion. No team has won the Big 12 with more than three losses in league history.Texas lost a total of three conference games the last two seasons and were the preseason favorites to win the crown again. The Longhorns sit in fifth place, behind a four-way logjam for first."We're a game behind the leaders in our conference, (but) we're in a position to give ourselves a chance," said Texas coach Jody Conradt.The Longhorns wasted little time taking control against the Cornhuskers.Carey stepped outside the Nebraska zone to hit three 3-pointers in the first 12 minutes. When Texas went inside, Jackson hit her first four shots and the Longhorns built a 33-14 lead."We set the tone early, got the lead and didn't relax," Conradt said.Nebraska, which committed four straight turnovers in one early stretch, looked overwhelmed and never recovered."We know who their shooters are," said Nebraska coach Connie Yori. "Anybody with half a brain can look at a stat sheet and see Jamie Carey is a good shooter. We gave up way too many shots."The Cornhuskers finished with 25 turnovers, which tied a season high. Kiera Hardy and Danielle Page scored 13 points apiece to lead Nebraska (14-8, 6-4).Nebraska couldn't cut the deficit any lower than 15 over the last half of first and Jackson's bucket with 16 seconds left made it 43-24 at the break.Jackson continued her stellar play over the last three weeks as Texas has turned its season around. She came in ranked No. 2 in scoring in the Big 12 with a 21-point average, behind Nebraska's Hardy (22.7).Texas never let Hardy get untracked, holding her to just four points in the first half."Our effort wasn't what it needed to be," Hardy said. "We need to play harder."In the second, Carey hit two more 3-pointers, Heather Schreiber hit another and Texas led by at least 21 over the last 13 minutes.The Longhorns play another critical game on Sunday when they host rival No. 13 Texas Tech (17-4, 8-2), a team tied for the conference lead. The Lady Raiders beat Texas 79-62 in Lubbock on Jan. 12."We can't afford to lose any more games," Schreiber said. "We want our chance to win the Big 12 in our own hands. We don't want to have to rely on two or three teams to lose to have a chance to win."Yori said the Longhorns appear primed for the tough stretch ahead."I think Texas is really turning it on at the right time," she said.
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