Texas' Conradt joins '800 Club' with win

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2003

AUSTIN, Texas - Eventually, Texas coach Jody Conradt will retire, even though she says that won't happen any time soon.

But when she does, Conradt hopes people will remember the things that were even more important to her than a few losses and a whole lot of wins.

Things like the sacrifices she and others made in promoting women's college basketball and making sure female athletes could get scholarships.

Conradt became just the second women's coach to reach 800 career victories Wednesday night when the 17th-ranked Longhorns beat No. 7 Texas Tech 69-58.

Conradt joined Tennessee's Pat Summitt (802) as the only women's coaches in the 800-victory club. Summitt got in Jan. 14 with a win over DePaul.

The 61-year-old Conradt is 800-262 in 34 seasons, with one national championship. She and Summitt started the season tied at 788 wins.

"I don't remember a lot of the 800. I hope that when I decide not to coach anymore that it won't be about number of wins," said Conradt, who started her career in 1969 coaching for free at Sam Houston State.

"I hope it will be about a little contribution, the same contribution a lot of people made early on to try to provide opportunities for young people," she said.

Texas fans are likely to remember win No. 800 for a long time.

Stacy Stephens scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half, and Heather Schreiber had 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in a tense conference battle that snapped Tech's 15-game winning streak and kept Texas (12-4, 5-0 Big 12) in first place in the conference.

After the final buzzer sounded, Stephens dumped a water bucket full of confetti on her coach's head, the crowd chanted "Jody! Jody!" and Longhorns players mugged for courtside television cameras.

"If there ever was an occasion that was about team, it's this one," Conradt said, "because 800 times, young women just like these have gotten on the court and fought for the University of Texas and come out victorious."

Only three Division I men's coaches - North Carolina's Dean Smith, Kentucky's Adolph Rupp and Jim Phelan of Mount St. Mary's - have 800 or more wins. Texas Tech's Bob Knight has 798.

Smith retired in 1997 with a record 879 victories.

Conradt's Longhorns secured No. 800 with clutch free-throw shooting in the final minute.

Stephens, 1-of-8 from the floor in the first half, hit her first three shots after the break in a scoring outburst that gave the Longhorns a 36-25 lead.

Schreiber, who also had a tough shooting night, made up for it with tenacious rebounding and two key baskets in the final four minutes.

Texas hit 21 of 24 free throws, won the rebounding 46-36 and forced Tech into 20 turnovers. Jia Perkins and Plenette Pierson led the Lady Raiders (15-2, 4-1) with 16 points each.

"This was the sweetest way she could get it, here at home, against a big team like Texas Tech," Texas senior guard Tai Dillard said.

Conradt arrived at Texas in 1976 and quickly turned the Longhorns into a national power. Her 1986 squad was the first undefeated national champion.

In 1997, Conradt was the first women's coach to 700 victories. In 2001, she was the first to work 1,000 games. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.

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