Women's Hoops: Horns Earn Sweet Sixteen Berth

Juniors Heather Schreiber and Jamie Carey combined for 43 points and nine-for-14 3-point shooting, as the duo led the West Region's No. 1 seed Texas to an 80-61 win over No. 8 regional seed Michigan State Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. The game was played at UT's Frank Erwin Center in front of 8,105, and UT capped off a perfect 16-0 home season with the win which vaulted the Longhorns into the NCAA Final 16 for the third consecutive year.

Texas, now 30-4, will face No. 4 seed LSU (25-7) in the West Regional Championship round of 16 on Saturday, March 27, at the Bank of America Arena in Seattle, Washington. That game time is set for 8:00 p.m. Central (6:00 p.m. Pacific), and will be followed by the second Sweet 16 regional game between No. 2 seed Purdue (29-3) and No. 3 seed Georgia (24-9). That Georgia-Purdue game will start 30 minutes after the Texas-LSU contest. LSU advanced to the Final 16 with a 76-61 win over No. 12 Maryland on Tuesday. Schreiber netted a game-high 23 points, going 8-for-11 from the floor and four-for-seven from 3-point range, while Carey added 20 points and was five-for-seven in treys. Those four treys by Schreiber and five for Carey tied their Texas career bests in that category. The nine 3-pointers also tied UT's season high for treys.

Senior Stacy Stephens (Winnsboro, Texas/Winnsboro HS), playing in her final game at the Erwin Center, accounted for 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. It was Stephens' team-high ninth double-double of the year.

On Tuesday afternoon prior to the game, both Stephens and Schreiber were honored as Associated Press All-Americans. Stephens was named to the five-member Second Team All-America squad, while Schreiber was an Honorable Mention pick.

Texas and LSU met at last year's 2003 NCAA Elite Eight game in Stanford, when No. 2 seed Texas stopped No. 1 seed LSU,  78-60, to go to the Final Four in Atlanta.

UT's third trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 follows its 2002 appearance in the East Regional Final 16 (where it lost to Duke) and last year's NCAA Sweet 16 showing at the West Regional in Palo Alto, California, where Texas stopped Minnesota and LSU en route to its Final Four semifinal showing in Atlanta. This is Texas' 11th overall appearance in the NCAA Final 16.

Michigan State ends its season at 22-9. The Spartans were held to 34.3 percent shooting for the game, including a 26 percent effort in the first half when they hit just eight of 31 field goals attempted.

The Longhorns made 51 percent of their shots in the game (28-55) and also held the edge in rebounding (41 boards to MSU's 36). Neither team committed numerous turnovers, with the Spartans turning the ball over seven times to UT's 11. The difference was in shooting percentage and 3-pointers made. MSU finished five-for-19 from 3-point territory. Texas also had six blocks, three by Stephens.

The win closed out another undefeated home season for the Longhorns - their second in a row. UT has now won 36 consecutive home court games and leads the nation with that longest current homecourt win streak. Last year, Texas was 15-0 at the Erwin Center.

Additionally, the win over MSU gave UT 30 victories for the 10th time in the program's 30-year history; the last time Texas reached the 30-win plateau was in 1987-88 (UT finished 32-3 that season).

Texas held an 11-point edge at intermission (34-23), and early in the second half the Spartans twice cut the lead to four points (37-33 with 16:17 to go, and then 39-35 on two Lindsey Bowen free throws with 15:22 left.

Texas then went on a 16-4 run over the next 3:45, and pulled ahead by 16, 55-39, on a Coco Reed jumper and free throw with 11:27 remaining. Carey led the 16-4 spurt with nine points, a block and an assist.

The first half saw a barrage of 3-pointers, as UT took the 11-point lead into halftime, paced by a five-for-nine performance from 3-point range. Schreiber had 12 first-half points (3-for-5 in treys), while Carey made two 3-pointers in the period. Neither team held a double-digit lead in the first half until UT took a 24-14 lead after two Schreiber free throws with 5:02 to play. MSU cut the lead to seven, 26-19, after a 3-pointer by Rene Haynes with 3:12 remaining. From that point, Texas out-scored MSU 8-4 in the last minutes of the period and took its 11-point lead into halftime.

Joining Schreiber, Carey and Stephens in double-figure scoring were sophomore guard Coco Reed (Houston, Texas/Jersey Villae HS) with a season-high tying 11 points, and freshman forward Tiffany Jackson (Dallas, Texas/Duncanville HS) with 10 points. Leading the way for Michigan State was forward Kelli Roehrig with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds, while forward Liz Shimek added 15 points.

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