12:00 PM ET, March 19, 2005
DALLAS (AP) -- Nina Norman wasn't going to let that heavy bandage on her left hand keep her from playing in the NCAA Tournament for Texas or from shooting the ball.Oral Roberts certainly wasn't prepared for what the Texas guard did with a broken finger."It definitely surprised me," Oral Roberts coach Jerry Finkbeiner said. "It was my mistake, but I thought her shooting would be a question mark, but it was the difference in the game."Norman scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting with five assists Saturday to lead third-seeded Texas to a 64-47 victory over the Golden Eagles in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.Norman hurt her finger in the regular-season finale and missed the Big 12 tournament. A wrap covered the bottom part of the senior guard's hand, and the pinkie and index fingers were taped together."I was a little nervous, jittery out there. But I got comfortable," Norman said. "The coaches were telling me that I was hesitating on my shot. I just had to have a mindset that I could go out there and shoot the ball."After missing her first two shots, Norman -- who averaged just 7.5 points during the regular season -- played as if the bandage and tape weren't even there."Nina was tremendous," said Texas coach Jody Conradt, who won her 869th game.The Longhorns (22-8) won for the 13th time in 15 games since a January slump of four losses in six games that raised concerns about a team that started the season ranked No. 2 with three senior starters. Texas plays Georgia in the second round Monday night.No. 14 seed Oral Roberts (22-9) was in the NCAA Tournament for only the third time, all without a win.Jamie Carey, one of the Texas seniors and the other starting guard, scored 13 points with three 3-pointers. Sophomore Tiffany Jackson also had 13 points, along with nine rebounds.After both teams hit only a free throw in the first three minutes, Texas went ahead to stay. Carey hit a 3-pointer and then stole a pass and drove for a layup."This wasn't the type of game I like to watch," Conradt said. "We were forced into playing their tempo. We couldn't get it up and down like we like, but we didn't let that distract us."Texas maintained a double-digit lead throughout after Carey stole a pass that led to a 3-pointer by Norman -- who had missed her first two shots -- for a 26-14 lead with 4:37 left before halftime. After another Oral Roberts turnover, Norman scored off a fast break.Elisha Turek, the Mid-Continent Conference's top scorer and rebounder, had 21 points and seven rebounds for Oral Roberts. But she made just 2-of-11 shots and had just five points at halftime, when the Golden Eagles already trailed 36-14.Texas focused on pressuring Turek, and she had two fouls on her even before being able to take her first shot more than five minutes into the game. She played all but two minutes and shot 8-for-20."I had open shots, I just wasn't hitting them," Turek said. "I just kept shooting and eventually they starting going on."By then, it was too late.Oral Roberts couldn't repeat what it did while winning the Mid-Continent tournament, where it held three opponents to 27 percent shooting and just 41 points a game. Texas shot 49 percent."Texas will beat us 79 out of 80 times," Finkbeiner said. "I was hoping today was one of those 80."The Longhorns' second-round game against Georgia will be a rematch. Texas lost at Georgia 78-64 in November after blowing a 15-point lead in the second half."That was early, the second game of the season, and teams change over time," Conradt said. "It's important for our coaches to see what they're doing today."Georgia beat Rice 75-49.
|FG Made-Attempted||19-44 (.432)||23-46 (.500)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-7 (.429)||7-17 (.412)|
|FT Made-Attempted||6-9 (.667)||14-17 (.824)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|