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Longhorns win before home crowd

3/22/2004

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- It has been 16 years since Texas was a No.
1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns figured to have some
fun with it.

Tiffany Jackson scored 21 points and the Longhorns, the top seed
in the West Regional, rolled over Southern 92-57 Sunday night,
putting on a show for a home crowd that didn't get to see any of
Texas' run to the Final Four last season.

"It helped us a lot," coach Jody Conradt said of playing in
the Frank Erwin Center before a crowd that charged up the arena
with chants of "Go Horns Go!" before tipoff.

"They were anxious and ready to play," she said. "We got out
of the gate with a lot of energy."

Jamie Carey scored 18 points, and Heather Schreiber added 15 for
Texas (29-4), combining for a flurry of first-half 3-pointers that
buried the Jaguars early with a 55-22 halftime lead.

The Longhorns ran the nation's longest home winning streak to 35
and advanced to the second round Tuesday against eighth-seeded
Michigan State, a 72-60 winner over Arizona.

Rolanda Monroe and Ashley Blake each scored 16 points to lead
Southern (17-13), which earned the dubious honor of playing the top
seed on its home court by winning the Southwestern Athletic
Conference tournament.

"It wasn't intimidation but we were rattled seeing the crowd,"
Monroe said. "We're a young team and we were nervous."

The Longhorns had earned their first top seed since 1988, but
were coming in off a loss in the Big 12 tournament title game and
struggling to find the form they showed in February when they
reached No. 1 in The Associated Press rankings.

It took about 18 seconds to find it.

Stacy Stephens won the opening tip over Southern's 6-foot-4
center Fredrieka Lewis. Schreiber hit a 3-pointer, was fouled by
Shere Cunningham, made the free throw and the rout was on.

While Lewis was big enough to dog Stephens under the basket,
Texas routinely exposed the Jaguars on the perimeter with six
3-pointers in the half, four by Carey. Schreiber hit another and
Carey swished three from the right wing as Texas opened up a 25-7
lead.

"We shot really well in practice all week leading up to the
game. It was really no surprise to be making our shots so well to
start off," Carey said.

"I told them you cannot leave Jamie and you cannot leave
Schreiber," said Southern coach Sandy Pugh. "That really hurt
us."

When Southern finally extended its defense, the Longhorns
started getting the ball down low to Jackson, who slashed and cut
her way under and around the Jaguars for easy buckets.

By the time Texas led 39-13 with 5:16 left in the half, the
Longhorns seldom had all five starters on the floor. Southern used
eight players the entire game and got no points from its reserves.

"It was probably good for us to limit playing time and keep
fresh," Conradt said. "It was also an opportunity for our entire
squad to experience the NCAA tournament."

The Jaguars' 11 first-half turnovers equaled their rebounds with
eight turnovers coming from guards Monroe and Jovanni Anderson. On
one possession, Blake dribbled the ball off her foot near midcourt
and watched it roll out of bounds instead of going after it.

Later in the half, Texas guards Nina Norman and Carey stripped
the ball at midcourt for three easy layups that made it 49-22.

By then, any hangover lingering from the Big 12 tournament had
been wiped away and the Longhorns crowd settled in to wait for the
finish.

"It looked like we did during most of the season," Conradt
said.