The Longhorns’ march towards the NCAA championship continues this weekend with the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship, where they sit with the No. 6 seed.
Texas (20–9, 9–9 Big 12) actually finished the Big 12 regular season in a four-way tie for third place, and NCAA tiebreaking rules determined the conference championship seeding between Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. The Longhorns went 2–4 in games against the other teams tied for third.
As a six seed, Texas receives a first-round bye in the Championships, which start Friday at American Airlines Center in Dallas. In the quarterfinal round Saturday, the Longhorns face TCU, who they beat in a 79–45 blowout Tuesday.
“I thought it was probably one of our best efforts from start to finish from an energy perspective, if not our best,” Longhorns head coach Karen Aston said. “I hope that they remember the energy level and what it felt like to encourage each other, because our team is so much better when we’re like that for whatever reason. We played freely — and very energetic — so that’s what we have to take to Dallas with us.”
On Tuesday, Texas shot 48 percent from the field and 47 percent from behind the arc to exploit TCU’s zone defense and use of five guards. Texas only turned over the ball 13 times.
“I thought our decision-making was better against their zone,” Aston said. “We cut our turnovers down. It was just a great way for the seniors to go out. We wanted to win 20 games. We wanted to get out of the Friday game in the Big 12 tournament, so there was a lot of motive tonight.”
Texas will continue to find motivation against the TCU team that defeated the Longhorns in Fort Worth earlier last month. In that matchup, Texas turned over the ball a season-high 25 times.
Outside of limiting turnovers, Texas looks to use its height as an advantage as it did Tuesday.
“We really worked on keeping the ball high and not bringing it down,” said sophomore center Kelsey Lang, who was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team. “We just tried to punish them in the paint for either trying to play five guards because their posts were in foul trouble or because that’s how they have been playing.”
The third game between Texas and TCU is slated to begin 8:30 p.m.
“When everybody is engaged, the bench is contributing and everybody is jumping up and down, then that’s the way we like to play,” sophomore guard Brianna Taylor said. “If we play like that all of the time, then I don’t think anybody can stop us.”