Turnovers Costly As No. 23 Texas Hands Buffs First Big 12 Setback
AUSTIN, Texas - Jackie McFarland had 15 points and eight rebounds but a team season-high in turnovers proved costly as No. 23 ranked University of Texas handed the University of Colorado its first Big 12 Conference setback of the season, 68-49, Saturday evening at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Buffaloes, 8-7 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, see their three-game win streak end and remain winless on the road in 2006-07 (0-4). Texas improves to 13-4, 2-1 in league play.
Colorado's 34 miscues, its most since a similar mark at Texas A&M on Feb. 5, 2005, led to a 34-7 advantage for Texas in points off turnovers. UT's defense also held CU to its second-lowest field-goal percentage of the season at 30.4 percent and the Buffs tied their lowest scoring output of the season (Wyoming, Nov. 21).
A game that was supposed to feature two of the top forwards in the Big 12 ? McFarland and UT's All-Big 12 forward Tiffany Jackson ? was won in the backcourt and with overall ball pressure by the Longhorns. Guard Erneisha Bailey had 15 points on 6-of-9 from the field while fellow backcourt mate Carla Cortijo had 11 points and seven assists.
Jackson ended up with a team-high 16 points, but most came late in the second half when Texas had already established a double-digit lead. The second-leading scorer in the Big 12, Jackson missed her first 13 shots from the floor and had just one point at halftime. However, she finished strong scoring 15 second-half points and making 6-of-8 down the stretch as a 28-12 Texas run mid-way through the second half sealed the game.
"If you would have told me that Tiffany Jackson would not get her second and third points of the game before the 12 and one half minute mark in the second half, I would have said that we would have been a really good shape, but that wasn't the case," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "And, I would not have believed you."
"In the first two minutes, they set the tone with the physical nature of their play and ball pressure and way they were denying the wings. We could not have played two more diverse teams in back-to-back games. Iowa State, known for their shooting, played catch and shoot, and tonight, we faced a really strong defensive team in Texas with great ball pressure."
Colorado out-rebounded the Longhorns 40-37, led by freshman Aija Putnina who had nine off the bench, her best total in four games since returning from a foot injury. Her defensive support in the first half helped the Buffaloes fend off a 9-0 opening run by Texas, which hit 3-of-4 out of the gate. Jasmina Ilic finally put the Buffaloes on the scoreboard at the 13:23 mark of the first period and scored CU's first five points.
The Longhorns cooled considerably as Colorado climbed back into the game. Texas made just two of its next 15 shots while Whitney Houston and McFarland connected on short jumpers to close the UT lead to 12-10.
After Texas pushed its lead back up to eight at 24-16, CU junior Susie Powers banked in a long jumper to cut the margin to six with 1:40 remaining. Texas then scored the last seven points of the half in unlikely fashion. Reserve UT frontcourt players Aubrey Cook and Ashley Lindsey hit field goals and then Cortijo was fouled by Houston on a 3-point attempt 40 feet away from the basket with :00.8 left on the clock. Cortijo hit all three free-throws to give UT a 31-18 halftime lead.
Colorado stayed close early in the second half hitting 6-of-11 to start the period and cut the Texas advantage to 39-31 on a McFarland layup with 13:42 remaining in the contest. However a pair of Bailey foul shots were followed by consecutive layups by Cortijo and Jackson to spark a 20-2 Longhorns' run.
McFarland finished the night 5-of-7 from the field, the 10th time in 15 games making 70 percent or better for the Big 12's most accurate shooter. Ilic was CU's only other scorer in double digits at 10.
Colorado will return to the Lone Star State on Wednesday, Jan. 17, for a 6 p.m. MST game against No. 19 ranked Texas A&M University in College Station.