It’s always hard for seniors to say goodbye. Many of them won’t play basketball on a highly competitive level again. Senior night is often a night to celebrate the culmination of a college career and its accomplishments.
Texas’ celebration of its seniors ended as soon as the ball was tipped off. Iowa State couldn’t have cared less about Texas’ pregame festivities, however, as Cyclones ran the Longhorns off the court in a commanding 82-73 victory.
Iowa State came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, hitting five threes in the first quarter alone en route to a 27-point opening period.
“Running them off the three point line, that’s something we didn’t do in the first quarter,” guard Sug Sutton said. “It’s just (paying) attention to what our game plan was.”
Even with the special night derailed, it still boiled down to another loss on the Longhorn’s record.
“(Senior night is) just another game,” guard Danni Williams said. “We just have to use it as motivation. Yeah, it’s unfortunate, but we gotta turn the page and move on.”
Iowa State’s Bridget Carleton was the main party-crasher and had a senior night of her own. She dominated the game in every aspect. Her near triple-double line of 23 points,12 rebounds and 7 assists were all game-highs.
“Bridget showed why she’s the best player in our league,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “She’s truly one of the best basketball players in the country.”
Carleton didn’t win by herself, though. Her partner in crime for the night, Ashley Joens, lit up the 3-point line, connecting from behind the arc five times and tying a career-high.
Those dressed in the burnt orange and white were not as fortunate.
Like many games this season, when Texas gets cold from three, it’s colder than a polar bear’s toenails. The Longhorns shot 20 percent from three in all, which was clearly not in Karen Aston’s game plan.
“We’re a very scouting report oriented team,” Fennelly said. “Some of the other kids, we didn’t care if they shot it. The goal was to chase Danni and Destiny off the three-point line.”
Despite being down for basically the entire game, Texas cut to lead to seven close to the end of the fourth quarter due to the pressure of their full court press. However, after missed layups and fouls, the game eventually went out of their reach.
With the loss, Texas is under .500 in its last month of play.
“It’s mental more than physical at this point,” Aston said. “Somebody wants to not go home. That’s what tournament play becomes. It becomes ‘We just don’t want to lose.’”
The losses — as well as the team’s mentality — have become a serious issue for the Longhorns at this point.
“I didn’t think our practice was as good yesterday,” Aston said. “It’s been the personality of this team that I have not been able to fix. It’s been our Achilles’ heel. We don’t practice consistently, so we don’t play consistently.”
With a self-diagnosed lack of consistency and a myriad of other problems, Texas has very little turnaround time to get back on track before the Big 12 tournament kicks off next week.