Horns Slip Past Sooners in Austin

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 31, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas senior forward Tiffany Jackson was stretched on the ground, clutching her right leg and moaning.

Even so, she was probably smiling through the pain.

Jackson wasn't injured, just exhausted and cramping up after a ferocious head-to-head battle with Oklahoma super sophomore center Courtney Paris.

Jackson scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Texas to a 67-62 win Wednesday night, sending the No. 9 Sooners to their second straight loss after they had won 26 in a row in the Big 12.

Jackson managed to hobble to the post-game interview room before limping right back out the door and collapsing in the hallway.

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``That was a tough 40-minute game,'' Jackson said when she came back in. ``Whenever we have a rivalry game, it's always personal. You want to play your best game.''

Paris had 25 points and 18 rebounds in a typically dominating performance - she has 48 consecutive double-doubles - but she had just five points in the first half when Texas seized control of the game.

The Longhorns (15-7, 4-4) led 36-20 after Jackson picked up a loose ball near midcourt and launched a 3-pointer that bounced twice on the rim before falling in with 9 seconds left in the first half.

They stretched it to 44-26 before the Sooners rallied. Paris scored 20 in the second half to lead the charge that got Oklahoma within four twice in the final minutes. Her two free throws pulled the Sooners to 64-60 before she fouled out with 28 seconds to play.

She was the only player in double figures for the Sooners, who committed 24 turnovers.

``The first half was just about as miserable as we could play,'' Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. ``It didn't even look like basketball.''

The Sooners (17-3, 7-2) had their chances to steal a victory. Oklahoma got within 52-41 before committing three straight turnovers that helped Texas push the lead back to 16 when Jackson converted a 3-point play.

Paris starting getting the better of Jackson in their duel under the basket and the Sooners steadily climbed back in the game. Jackson drew a technical foul when she shoved Paris late in the second half.

``Tiffany's a tough player. I like to think of myself as a tough player. It's going to usually be a battle inside with us,'' Paris said.

Texas, which squandered a late lead and lost on a last-second shot at Texas Tech five days earlier, held on this time despite shooting 3-of-8 on free throws in the final 40 seconds.

``We made it a little hard on ourselves with a lot of misses from the foul line,'' Texas coach Jody Conradt said. ``But everybody at some point stepped up and made plays.''

Earnesia Williams added 13 points, and Brittainey Raven and Carla Cortijo each scored 10 for Texas, which had lost three of its last four and needed the victory to stay within striking distance of the conference lead heading into the last month of the regular season.

The Longhorns play four of their next five games on the road.

``The race is on,'' Conradt said. ``This week changed everything. Oklahoma is not sitting out there. Everybody had a chance to be in contact with them.''

For the Sooners, the challenge is to go back home for a Sunday game against rival Oklahoma State and find a way to end a surprising two-game skid in the Big 12.

``We're not going to look at it as a slump,'' Sooners guard Erin Higgins said. ``That's not the way we play.''



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