March 12, 2008
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Longhorns' Carla Cortijo scored a career-high 24 points and Texas overcame a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat Baylor (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) 76-61 on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 women's tournament.
"Thank goodness for second halves," Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. "They were going on all cylinders, they were hitting 3's, they had their transition game going and we just lost our composure."
But it was a different story in the second half, as Baylor struggled from the field and let a 16-point lead slip away rather quickly. Texas outscored the Lady Bears 52-21 in the final 20 minutes.
"If I wasn't so young in my career, I'd resign tonight," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "Put that in the paper. First five minutes of the second half, we had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity and we just couldn't finish shots. Why, who the heck knows, but it happened."
The loss by second-seeded Baylor (24-6) continued a string of upsets with top-seeded Kansas State losing to eighth-seeded Iowa State earlier in the day and No. 13 Oklahoma losing to the worst team in the Big 12, Missouri, in the opening round on Tuesday.
Ashley Lindsey finished with 15 points and Earnesia Williams had eight points and 13 rebounds for Texas, which will play either third-seeded Oklahoma State or 11th-seeded Kansas on Thursday.
Baylor had won its opening game of the tournament in each of Mulkey's seven seasons at the helm and looked in prime position to advance to the semifinals again when the Bears led 40-24 at halftime.
But Texas opened the second half on a 19-3 run to tie the game at 43-43 with 10:45 remaining and took its first lead since 12-11 when Carla Cortijo hit a 3-pointer to make it 48-46.
"I don't know what got into me the second half," said Cortijo, who had 17 of her career-high 24 points in the second half. "Some kind of fire got into me, but my team did a great job."
The Longhorns never trailed again, extending the lead to 66-54 with just over two minutes left.
Texas (21-11), which had as many field goals as it did blocks in the first half with eight, shot only 23 percent in the opening 20 minutes and won despite shooting 38 percent for the game.
All-Big 12 selection Angela Tisdale led the Lady Bears with 23 points. Rachel Allison added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor, which also got 16 points from Jessica Morrow but only six points from the rest of the team.
"I mean we only scored 21 points in the second half so you have to give them some kind of credit," Mulkey said. "But we just couldn't score. I don't know if that was fatigue or what it was. I thought we played as good as we could play in the first half and as bad as we could play in the second half."
The Lady Bears used an 11-0 run to take a 36-20 lead shortly before halftime.
Brittainey Raven, the Longhorns' leading scorer at 15.5 points per game, battled foul trouble in the first half and finished with only two points at the break. But she scored 14 in the final 20 minutes.
"I certainly didn't envision 52 points," Goestenkors said of the second-half outburst. "I told them this was going to be the greatest comeback in the history of the Big 12 tournament. I wanted them to feel like we weren't just going to catch up, we were going to win the game."