SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Although Carla Cortijo wasn't supposed to take the final shot, Texas coach Gail Goestenkors didn't want the ball anywhere else.
Cortijo hit a jumper with 3.7 seconds left to lift No. 19 Texas to an 81-79 win over San Diego on Sunday night in the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam championship game."That's the person I want to have the ball," said Texas coach Gail Goestenkors. "I trust her to make the right decisions with the basketball."The final shot was not designed to be taken by Cortijo. But as the clock began to wind down, the 5-foot-7 point guard drove the ball into the lane."I was supposed to get the ball to Ashley [Lindsey]," said Cortijo. "She wasn't open and nobody else was open. Time was running out, so I had to take the leadership as the point guard."Although Cortijo hit the game-winning shot, it was the play of guard Brittainey Raven that helped stave off a late San Diego charge.Raven score a career-high 23 points, including six key points in the final 1:39 of the game to give Texas (11-2) its ninth straight win, the Longhorns' longest win streak since 2004.Lindsey added 18 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots for the Longhorns, who also got 14 points from Earnesia Williams."Obviously, it hurts like crazy," San Diego coach Cindy Fisher said.The Longhorns followed two straight impressive wins over Top 25 ranked opponents with a tough victory over the host school. Despite never leading until the final two minutes, the Toreros kept the game close in the second half.Texas had a double-digit lead throughout parts of the second half but San Diego (8-5) kept pulling within striking distance behind point guard Amanda Rego. She tied the game at 79-all on a three-point play with 21.4 seconds left.Texas put the ball into the hands of Cortijo, who worked the clock down to 5 seconds before she drove into the lane and made a 10-footer.Rego missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer. She finished 22 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. The left-hander made all 10 of her free throw attempts."It stings," Rego said. "It's very disappointing. We had this opportunity to prove we could play with a Top 20 team."The Toreros took their first lead of the game at 74-73 on Amber Sprague's 15-foot shot with 2:02 remaining, her second straight basket. Texas took back the lead on Raven's drive with 1:39 left. Raven then hit a pair of free throws with 1:05 left for a 77-74 lead before Sprague hit a running shot to cut the lead to one.Raven scored on another drive with 31 seconds before Rego tied the game.Sprague finished with 23 points."[Sprague] did a great job," said Raven, who also had eight rebounds and seven assists. "We had to figure out how to stop her. We went to the face guard to try and make the other players step up."Texas dominated most of the first half, hitting 15 of its first 20 shots en route to a 35-21 lead. But San Diego fought back to trail just 41-35 at halftime.