5:00 PM ET, January 31, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas -- After building a big second-half lead, Texas was watching it slip away as Baylor slowly mounted a comeback.The Longhorns had been through this before.Just a week earlier, Iowa State rallied to deal the Longhorns a devastating home loss. That one left the players angry and coach Gail Goestenkors declaring a week of "boot camp" practices to learn a few things.Those lessons and a dose of hard-nosed defense pulled Texas (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) through on Sunday. The Longhorns nearly squandered a 21-point lead before hanging on for a 61-50 win.Earnesia Williams scored 13 points and combined with Brittainey Raven (12 points) and Ashleigh Fontenette (11 points) for the big plays Texas (14-6, 3-3 Big 12) needed down the stretch."We didn't let up in this game," Texas forward Kathleen Nash said.They almost did. Baylor (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) was chipping away behind Brittney Griner's 21 points and got within seven with under 3 minutes to play before Fontenette converted a 3-point play and Williams hit a long jumper.During a timeout, Goestenkors had pleaded with her team to do what it takes to hang on."They went on a run. Great teams do," she said. "Now it's our turn. Play with poise, play calm."Baylor (15-5, 2-4), still searching for its first league road win, did little to help Griner. The Lady Bears shot just 32 percent as a team and often struggled to get the 6-foot-8 freshman post player the ball near the basket."That's just basketball," Griner said. "Some will go in and some will not."Griner, one of just seven women players in NCAA history to dunk, spent much of the game pleading for passes that didn't come or fending off Texas' pair of heavier and more muscular 6-4 forwards, Ashley Gayle and Cokie Reed.By alternating Reed and Gayle -- who both fouled out in the second half -- and just about any player they could find on Griner, Texas could afford to be aggressive on defense."Not give her anything easy, that was the main thing," Gayle said.Griner picked up two early fouls in the first half and spent the final 4:48 on the bench. Texas inserted smaller players and started attacking the lane for layups to build a 33-25 halftime lead."When she's in the game, everybody thinks twice about going into the paint," Goestenkors said. "When she went out with that second foul, I could take my bigs out. That's when we went on a run, when we went small."Griner scored Baylor's first basket of the second half and drew Gayle's third foul in just 13 seconds. Gayle stayed in the game and answered with a basket of her own. Texas built the lead to 44-29 when Williams hit a 3-pointer from the right corner.Texas kept pressing its lead. Gayle hit a short jumper over Griner and a layup by Fontenette put Texas up 50-29 with 13:18 to play.The game started to change when Texas got into serious foul trouble.Texas started missing shots. Griner converted a 3-point play and Jordan Madden hit a 3-pointer to start an 11-0 Baylor run.Reed and Gayle both fouled out within 51 seconds, taking them out of the game with 7:38 still to play. Baylor got within 51-42 before Raven ended a six-minute scoring drought for Texas with two free throws.Baylor's last chance for a rally came when Madden hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to get within 56-49 before Fontenette drove the baseline and drew Griner's fourth foul for a 3-point play.Williams then hit a long jumper over Griner's outstretched arms that helped put the game away."We had a week that was pretty intense," Goestenkors said. "I was glad to see it pay off today."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||18-57 (.316)||23-62 (.371)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-14 (.143)||3-16 (.188)|
|FT Made-Attempted||12-23 (.522)||12-15 (.800)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||21 (0/0)|