Sunday, April 6, 2003

Texas' goal: Stop Taurasi

UConn star has been on roll

The Associated Press

ATLANTA - The Texas Longhorns know they'll have their hands full trying to contain Diana Taurasi in their national semifinal game against Connecticut tonight.

Taurasi, the only returning starter from last season's national champions, leads the Huskies (35-1) in scoring (averaging 17.4 points per game), rebounding (6.2), assists (4.6) and blocks (1.2).

"She can do whatever she wants to do, whenever she wants to do it," Texas guard Tai Dillard said.

Texas coach Jody Conradt hopes to slow Taurasi with a guard-by-committee approach, including Dillard, Kala Bowers and Heather Schreiber.

"We will guard her with any number of people, with the purpose of trying to keep her from running away with the game," Conradt said.

So far in the NCAA Tournament, no one has been able to stop Taurasi. She had 21 points and seven assists in just 22 minutes against Boston University. She totaled 35 points against TCU. She had 26 points and 12 rebounds against Boston College, and 21 points against Purdue.

While UConn relies on one superstar, Texas (29-5) got to Atlanta with more of a team effort. The only non-No. 1 seed in the Final Four - the Longhorns were No. 2 in the West Regional - has three starters averaging in double figures and five other players averaging at least 4.0 points a game.

Their most important player might be 5-foot-6 guard Jamie Carey, who transferred from Stanford after missing the past two seasons because of repeated concussions. She averaged 10.7 points and brought much-needed toughness to the Longhorns.

"This is the sweetest team I ever had," Conradt said. "Jamie sort of tried to get them to be not so nice on the court."

UConn (35-1)

Tournament Record: 45-11, 15 years.

Top Scorers: Diana Taurasi 17.4, Jessica Moore 10.7, Ann Strother 10.1. Top Rebounders: Barbara Turner 6.2, Taurasi 6.0, Jessica Moore 6.0. Top Assists: Taurasi 4.5, Maria Conlon 3.4, Strother 3.2. 3-Point Threats: Taurasi 62, Strother 54, Conlon 50.

Texas (29-5)

Tournament Record: 28-17, 19 years.

Top Scorers: Stacy Stephens 14.4, Heather Schreiber 14.4, Jamie Carey 10.7. Top Rebounders: Stephens 9.1, Schreiber 8.3, Kala Bowers 5.1. Top Assists: Carey 3.6. 3-Point Threats: Carey 53, Schreiber 44.

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