Texas stood primed to capture the Big 12 conference title eight days ago. The team had put together a pair of top 5 road upsets on its way to 19 consecutive wins, entering the final stretch as the second-hottest team in college basketball.
Today, the Longhorns find themselves on the wrong end of a three-game losing streak, capped off by a senior night loss to unranked Iowa State on Friday night.
No. 6 Texas fell 70-66 in its final home game of the season, handing Iowa State its fourth-straight win and its first in Austin since 2015.
“I think you are always disappointed when it’s senior night and you do not take care of your business when it’s your last home game,” head coach Karen Aston said. “I think that is always a disappointing loss. I have not had many of those honestly in my career, but credit to Iowa State.”
The Cyclones jumped out to an early lead, controlling the first two periods to enter halftime up 37-33. From there, they seemed content trading baskets, matching Texas point-for-point. The two squads scored 21 points each in the third quarter and 12 in the fourth, as the orange and white failed to build any kind of lasting momentum down the stretch.
It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities, however. The Longhorns put together a 6-0 run with 7 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to go up 60-58 for the first time since the opening minutes. Iowa State responded with nine unanswered points to reclaim a 67-60 lead.
The two battled back and forth, both teams struggling to score, until a steal led to a layup by Texas freshman guard Alecia Sutton to make it a one-possession game with 44 seconds left on the clock. Here, execution hurt the Longhorns as it had all game. The team failed to convert on a final look to win or tie the contest, and a pair of free throws on the other end sealed the defeat.
“We just did not play with a lot of urgency, possession after possession after possession,” Aston said. “There were times where we played with urgency, but not the kind you need to win in the Big 12.”
Sutton posted a career-high 10 points in the loss—one of four Texas players to score in double figures. Junior guard Brooke McCarty added 12 points and tied her season-high with
Texas concludes its regular season schedule with a rematch at Kansas State on Monday night. Barring an Oklahoma upset over Baylor and a fourth-straight loss for the Longhorns, the team will finish second in the conference in back-to-back years.
The Wildcats sit at fourth place in the Big 12 with an 11–6 record. In the first matchup of the season, freshman forward Joyner Holmes and senior center Kelsey Lang combined for 31 points and 18 rebounds in the narrow 63-58 home victory.
Texas looks for another pair of strong performances as it attempts to close out the season on a high note. In spite of the slide, Lang is confident the losses can help the team improve.
“We can learn a lot from these games,” Lang said. “We have gotten comfortable with the things we did really well in the middle of the season. I think we can definitely learn from it, and if we learn from it, we can move on and grow.”