Following Saturday’s disappointing loss against Iowa State on senior night, head coach Karen Aston sat at the podium with a look of concern, stress and disgruntlement on her face. She didn’t need to speak for anyone to understand her discontent with her team’s inconsistent play this season.
“I think that’s kind of been the personality of this team: You have a good day and then you don’t have a good day,” Aston said after Saturday’s loss. “I think it’s been the personality of this team that I have not been able to fix.”
As the Longhorns enter their final regular season matchup against TCU on Tuesday, guard Danni Williams, a graduate transfer from Texas A&M, feels the pressure as a leader while Texas currently rides a two-game losing streak.
“It’s on me, it’s on the seniors to understand that these are our last few games, our last few practices,” Williams said Saturday. “We’re aware that if we practice (poorly), we’re not playing as (well). That’s on us to fix.”
With the loss Saturday, Texas dropped to third in the Big 12, a full game behind Iowa State. Unless last-place Kansas manages to upset the Cyclones in Ames, the Longhorns will finish outside of the top two in the conference for the first time since 2015.
Despite Texas losing only three of its 45 meetings all-time with TCU, the sixth-place Horned Frogs aren’t an opponent to be taken lightly.
TCU has lost only two games at home this season and has improved considerably since their loss in Austin on Jan. 19, racking up a home victory against Iowa State and taking down Kansas State in Manhattan — two things Texas has been unable to do this season.
So what does a loss in Fort Worth mean for the Longhorns?
It means that, with a West Virginia upset win over Baylor, Texas could potentially drop as low as sixth in the Big 12 and secure its worst regular season finish since Aston’s first year at Texas in 2012-13, when the team finished ninth.
Williams, who will play in her last true road game Tuesday night, understands the importance of winning in Fort Worth. And she knows how important it is for the Longhorns to fix their issues quickly.
“The games (where) we’ve been successful, we come out and punch first,” Williams said. “We get after it from the jump. That’s what we’re missing right now. I’m not really sure how we fix that, but we need to talk about it in the locker room.”
Time is running out for Texas to find a solution to its poor starts. After Tuesday, the Longhorns will have a quick turnaround before beginning the Big 12 Tournament on Friday.
With Baylor having already secured the regular season championship and Texas out of the picture to host in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, every game is now of utmost importance for the Longhorns to win.
“You never want to lose,” Williams said. “That’s never fun.”
But, ever the optimist, Williams refuses to be held back by failures and disappointments.
“Tomorrow’s a new day, a new opportunity to adjust and get better,” Williams said.