When junior guard Lashann Higgs went to the bench with 3:41 left in the first quarter, she took all of Texas’ offense with her.
Early in their 75-64 win over Kansas State at the Bramlage Coliseum on Sunday, the No. 8 Longhorns struggled against the Wildcats’ zone defense. Their threes weren’t falling, they couldn’t find a good look inside and there weren’t many chances in transition.
Texas started the game missing its first seven shots from the field, turning the ball over three times during that stretch. Higgs finally broke the lid on the basket, hitting a midrange jumper with 5:26 on the clock.
Head coach Karen Aston needed Higgs to keep up her hot start for the rest of the game and subbed in sophomore guard Alecia Sutton to give Higgs a breather. At the time, the Longhorns trailed 11-6. Higgs had all six of Texas’ points. She entered back into the game just before the end of the first quarter with the Longhorns still down, 15-12.
The second quarter was more of the same from Texas. Junior transfer center Jatarie White and sophomore forward Joyner Holmes both got into foul trouble, picking up two each by the 8:44 mark. Senior guard Brooke McCarty drained a three off an assist from Higgs at 7:14 to cut Kansas State’s lead to two points, but wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter.
Halfway through the second, Higgs had had enough. She picked off a pass from Wildcat sophomore forward Peyton Williams and cashed in an easy layup on the fast break. Kansas State scored on the next play and Higgs returned the favor by splashing a trey, tying the game, 22-22.
The Longhorns turned the ball over on their next two possessions and Wildcat freshman guard Kayla Goth made a layup to push Kansas State in front. Texas missed its next shot, but senior wing Ariel Atkins stole the ball back and found Higgs in transition to tie the game again.
The Wildcats missed a three on the next play, and McCarty zoomed to the other end and drove into the paint. McCarty’s layup rimmed out, but senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau grabbed the offensive board and found Higgs open on the right wing. Higgs swished the triple to give the Longhorns their first lead of the game, 27-24.
In the second half, Texas cracked the code on Kansas State’s zone. The Longhorns started the third quarter on a 13-4 run fueled by Atkins and White. The Wildcats called timeout with 6:17 remaining and Texas up 47-30. The Longhorns never let the lead dip back below double digits.
Higgs finished the game 26 points, including 16 in the first half. She showed the same prowess on the defensive end, racking up three steals and guarding Goth for most of the game.
Goth leads her team in points, averaging 16.7 per game, and leads the Big 12 with 6.3 assists per game. She finished the day with 17 points and five assists, but also committed two turnovers and shot just 6-of-18 from the floor.
Atkins, White and Caron-Goudreau combined for 31 points, and Caron-Goudreau also earned her first career double-double with 10 rebounds.
The victory puts Texas at 13-1 on the season and 4-0 in the Big 12. The Longhorns face TCU on Wednesday in Fort Worth with tip-off set for 8 p.m.