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No. 5 Texas Defeats Colorado 62-47

March 14, 2003

DALLAS (AP) _ Stacy Stephens had 20 points and 15 rebounds, leading No. 5 Texas to a 62-47 win over Colorado on Thursday night in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.

Texas advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2000, but it has never won the Big 12 tournament.

The top-seeded Longhorns (24-5) won their 12th straight game by fighting off a stiff challenge from a Colorado team that appeared to have a sole offensive focus: get the ball to 6-foot-5 center Tera Bjorklund.

Bjorklund, who tied a Big 12 tournament mark with 32 points in a quarterfinal win over Oklahoma, got the better of a matchup against Stephens by exploiting her four-inch height advantage with a series of arching jumphooks and turnarounds.

She finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds. No other Colorado player scored in double figures.

But Stephens didn’t shy away from mixing it up in the paint with Bjorklund. Both players each scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, then were taken out during a timeout a few seconds later.

Bjorklund went on to score 18 of Colorado’s first 22 points, but the Buffaloes still trailed 36-32 at halftime.

Colorado (22-7) scored the first six points of the second half to take a 38-36 lead, but Stephens sparked the game’s decisive run with a steal that led to a basket, a putback of a teammate’s miss and a basket on the next possession to give the Longhorns a 42-38 lead they would never relinquish.

From there, Texas pulled away with a 20-7 spurt built on a defense designed to limit Bjorklund’s touches and pressure the Buffaloes’ guards from the halfcourt line. Colorado committed 23 turnovers.

Heather Schreiber added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Longhorns.

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