11:00 PM ET, December 28, 2007
SAN DIEGO -- Texas may not have attracted attention so far, but an impressive win over DePaul may move the Longhorns into the national spotlight.Carla Cortijo scored 17 points, Ashley Lindsey added 16, and No. 19 Texas handed DePaul (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) its first loss of the season, 91-81 on Friday night at the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam Classic. Texas coach Gail Goestenkors believes the win may provide a big boost to the Longhorns. "This win does matter," Goestenkors said. "I told the team no one is talking about us. We needed to beat someone special. This will be a game people will take notice of." DePaul (10-1) had been one of four undefeated teams, along with No. 1 Connecticut, No. 7 Georgia and Arkansas. The loss prevented the Blue Demons from winning their 600th game. "I think we paid the price for not having the toughest schedule early on," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. The Blue Demons defeated then-No. 18 Florida State in November, but have mainly played a weaker schedule. After playing in the consolation game here Sunday night against Appalachian State, DePaul hosts No. 3 Tennessee on Wednesday in its final game before the start of Big East Conference play. The Longhorns (10-2) used a tough, athletic defense to hold DePaul, one of the nation's highest scoring teams, to a season-low 34.6 percent shooting. Texas won its eighth consecutive game, the Longhorns' longest win streak since near the end of the 2005 season. "Our main focus was to try to keep the pressure on them defensively," Texas guard Brittany Raven said. "We did a better job in the second half. But it all starts with Carla putting pressure on the ball." The Longhorns were more successful playing at the frantic pace favored by DePaul. Texas scored numerous fast-break points, led by Cortijo, who finished with nine assists. "I can't even imagine what our team would be like without her," Goestenkors said. "She's really the heart and soul of our team." Allie Quigley, DePaul's leading scorer, struggled after hitting her first three shots from the field as the Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead nearly 4 minutes into the game. But the Longhorns increased their defensive pressure and forced Quigley into missing her next eight shots. After falling behind 12-4, Texas outscored the Blue Demons 37-18 over the rest of the half, including a 15-3 run leading into halftime. Texas led 41-30 at halftime as DePaul tied their season low for first-half points. Quigley led DePaul with 29 points, but made just eight of 22 shots, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range. "You learn something from every loss," Quigley said. "We certainly have some things we can work on." The 6-foot-4 Lindsey was too much for the Blue Devils to handle inside, as she had a game-high 11 rebounds. Raven and Kathleen Nash each scored 15 points, and Erneisha Bailey finished with 12 for Texas, which shot 49.2 percent from the field. "To beat this team that was undefeated, is big," Lindsey said. "To keep them down the way we did gives us a lot of confidence." DePaul, off to the best start in school history, produced much of its offense after Texas took its biggest lead at 73-51 with 8:55 left. The Blue Demons, who had averaged winning by a margin of nearly 26 points, were no match for a fast and aggressive Texas squad. Texas will face host San Diego, a 79-60 winner over Appalachian State, on Sunday night in the title game.
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