Lincoln, NE (U-WIRE) -- Preseason expectations were so high for the Texas women's basketball team that anything short of a perfect record at this point in the season would have been a disappointment.
The Longhorns were ranked No. 2 in the nation in The Associated Press Preseason Poll and were picked to win the Big 12 Conference for the third-consecutive year.
Texas has fallen short of high expectations and carries a 13-7 overall record into today's 7 p.m. game against Nebraska at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
The Longhorns, now ranked No. 17, lost to then-No. 5 Georgia, unranked UCLA and then-No. 24 Rutgers before the conference season began. But Texas also beat then-No. 1 Tennessee on Nov. 25
"Obviously, we've had ups and downs," Texas Coach Jody Conradt said. "I don't think any team ever plays as well as a coach wants them to, and I certainly can sympathize with that because our team has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride early."
Texas and Nebraska (14-7) are tied for fifth place in the Big 12 with 6-3 league records, and both teams are surging going into tonight's game.
The Cornhuskers have won three straight games while the Longhorns have won four of their past five games. UT's only loss in that stretch was a 73-69 setback Saturday to league-leading Iowa State.
Conradt said increased parity in the Big 12 has made it more difficult for the top teams to win every night.
"You have so many teams that are capable of winning this thing," she said. "It's going to be a dog fight to the end."
NU Coach Connie Yori credits the Longhorns' early-season struggles to a brutal schedule, but she said UT has been playing better since the Big 12 season began.
"It looks to me like Texas has really turned the corner and really is playing positively," Yori said.
Texas' 83-71 overtime win against Oklahoma on Jan. 26 was a turning point for the Longhorns, Conradt said.
In that game, Texas rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to topple the Sooners in Norman, Okla.
"I feel like we have played like a different ball team since that time," Conradt said. "That doesn't assure us of anything in this conference because it is so incredibly tough, but I have been pleased with where our team is and the progress we're making."
(C) 2004 Daily Nebraskan via U-WIRE