The Longhorns handled business on the home court of the Frank Erwin Center on Monday night, defeating 7-seeded Arizona State to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, 85-65.
Here are five takeaways from the do-or-die match.
Arizona State holds its own on the glass
The Longhorns imposed their will in the tournament opener against Maine on Saturday, holding the Black Bears to an abysmal 12 total rebounds on the night.
Texas faced a rude awakening on Monday, though, as Arizona State crashed the glass with a purpose. The Sun Devils didn’t flinch despite not having a starter over 6-foot-1, totaling eight rebounds in the first quarter alone.
Texas’ inability to secure the boards and get out on its trademarked fast breaks disrupted the offense’s flow, allowing Arizona State to trail by only four at the end of the first quarter, 22-18.
Texas’ mistakes keep Sun Devils alive
Texas proved to be its own worst enemy in the first half.
Arizona State couldn’t find the mark from long range, shooting just 1-for-5 from deep. Turnovers also plagued the Sun Devils as the road team committed six of them.
But the Longhorns bailed Arizona State out, giving the Sun Devils 12 free throws compared to their one. Arizona State took advantage, sinking 10 of the charity shots.
Those free looks prevented Texas from pulling away as the Longhorns entered halftime with a slim 40-35 lead.
“Nobody is going to hand (wins) to you,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “First half we seemed a little bit rattled because of the early foul trouble, and we threw some combinations in there that weren’t normal.”
Brooke McCarty stands tall
In a first half where both teams proved evenly matched, it was senior guard Brooke McCarty who gave Texas the second-half edge.
The League City, Texas, native led the charge in the third quarter, exploding for 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting.
But McCarty did more than just scoring. Despite being the shortest player on the court, the 5-foot-4 guard dominated the boards, totaling five rebounds in the quarter alone.
The senior’s intensity rubbed off on her teammates, fueling the Longhorns as they outscored Arizona State, 25-15, to take a commanding 65-50 lead entering the fourth quarter.
“I just went out there and played,” McCarty said. “Whenever I was open, I took it, and my teammates did a great job of finding me. I just wanted to help as best as I could.”
Texas’ depth shines in the victory
The Longhorns got contributions from every roster spot on Monday night, totaling 21 points off the bench.
Sophomore guard Alecia Sutton also made her presence known, scoring six points. But it was junior forward Olamide Aborowa who stole the show, posting nine points and seven rebounds in just 11 minutes.
“Olamide has been working hard all year,” senior guard Ariel Atkins said. “For her to go out and be rewarded for her work tonight is amazing. I’m so proud of her.”
The Longhorns’ depth proved too much for Arizona State as Texas cruised in the fourth quarter to an 85-65 win.
The Longhorns are clicking
It’s survive and advance for the Longhorns as they move on to their fourth straight Sweet Sixteen.
It’ll be an uphill battle for Texas, though, as the Longhorns must now leave the comforts of the Frank Erwin Center and play the remainder of the tournament on the road.
But Texas is up to the task. The Longhorns shot a scorching 61.7 percent from the field in their first two tournament wins, and they’ll look to carry that momentum into Sunday’s matchup against 3-seeded UCLA for a trip to the Elite Eight.