Jan 3, 2004
By JIM VERTUNO
AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas - Jamie Carey is finding the touch on her 3-point shot just in time for No. 3 Texas to begin defense of its Big 12 title.
Carey scored 17 points and hit a season-high five 3-pointers Saturday, and the Longhorns shook off New Mexico 92-47 in their final tuneup before the start of conference play.
The Longhorns' 26-game home winning streak is now the longest in the nation after No. 1 Connecticut's 69-game streak was snapped Saturday with a loss to No. 4 Duke.
The Longhorns' top long-range shooter last season, Carey had struggled to find her stroke this season before hitting three times as Texas opened a 46-16 halftime lead over the Lobos.
"It's good to see Jamie start to get wound up again," coach Jody Conradt said.
Carey was a 42 percent 3-point shooter last season but had seen her numbers dip to 37 percent through the first 11 games. She spent the holiday week launching up shot after shot in practice.
"I've been in the gym a lot lately this past week," Carey said. "People just got me the ball in good places and I hit them."
Tiffany Jackson added 17 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Texas (12-1), which used runs of 11-0 and 21-4 in the first half to build a big lead. The Lobos (7-5) scored just four points over the final eight minutes of the half.
Lindsey Arndt scored 15 to lead New Mexico. The Lobos shot just 31 percent from the field.
New Mexico beat the Longhorns 77-70 in Albuquerque last season, but got swamped from the start Saturday thanks to Texas' 56 percent shooting in the first half and tenacious defense.
Texas led 14-9 before six New Mexico turnovers and six straight points by Jackson opened things up. After New Mexico's Mandi Moore banked in a 3-pointer, Texas held the Lobos to just two baskets the rest of the half.
"We got off to a really good start and let the defense do what it's supposed to do: control the tempo and control the boards," Conradt said.
The turnovers and easy rebounds led to a quick transition game that New Mexico couldn't match.
"Their post players run like guards and their guards do a nice job distributing the ball," New Mexico coach Don Flanagan said. "They have the whole package."
Texas kept pushing the tempo and the lead in the second half. Carey hit consecutive 3-pointers as the Longhorns opened a 66-20 lead.
"We want to run and push the basketball. Those are the things that make it the most difficult for our opponent to deal with," Conradt said.
A Final Four team last season, the Longhorns are off to their best start since 1986-87, when Texas went 31-2. The Longhorns open Big 12 play Wednesday at Kansas.
Where they'll be ranked for that game is the next question. Texas already has three wins over Top 10 opponents - Duke, Tennessee and Georgia - and could jump to No. 1 in next week's poll after UConn's loss.
"We've played well at given times. We're not where we want to be yet," Conradt said. "I think we have the potential to be a (Big 12) championship team."