Texas got some of its worst news of the season on Thursday when it found out senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau had been ruled out indefinitely because of a left wrist injury she sustained in the Longhorns’ win over Kansas State on Feb. 10.
But the No. 6 Longhorns responded with a collective beatdown on Saturday afternoon in Stillwater, defeating No. 21 Oklahoma State, 77-62, in a game in which every player saw time on the court. Texas has now won seven games in a row.
Joyner Holmes, Caron-Goudreau’s replacement, made her presence known in the opening quarter. The 6-foot-3-inch sophomore forward took advantage of what was only her second start of the season, racking up an early 6 points, four rebounds and a block as the Longhorns claimed a 21-14 lead with 1:40 left to go.
But Oklahoma State responded, turning to freshman guard Braxtin Miller for a spark. Miller torched the Longhorns for 23 points when the two teams previously met on Jan. 3, and Saturday was no different.
Miller found that same swagger in the opening quarter, scoring 4 points as part of Oklahoma State’s 6-0 run to end the quarter. And with that, a quarter in which Texas dominated the Cowgirls, the Longhorns clung to a 1-point advantage, 21-20.
Texas upped the intensity in the second quarter, forcing five Oklahoma State turnovers and holding the Cowgirls to just 5-for-15 shooting.
This time, it was senior guard Brooke McCarty who led the charge on the offensive end, scoring 7 points in the quarter as the Longhorns opened up a 38-30 lead heading into halftime.
“We talked a little bit earlier this week about how if you get an open shot, you shoot,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “Especially with Brooke. She has a green light, so she needed to look more for her shot, and she did that today.”
Everything went wrong for Oklahoma State in the third quarter as Texas began to pull away. The Longhorns kicked off the second half with a crushing blow, jumping out to an 8-0 run in the first three minutes.
It was Jatarie White’s turn this time around. The junior forward fueled the run, scoring 6 points and forcing the Cowgirls into an early timeout.
Things didn’t get any easier for Oklahoma State, as the team shot a woeful 4-for-15 from the field. It was a group effort on the other side of the court, as six different Longhorn players scored in the quarter.
Senior guard Ariel Atkins delivered the dagger to end the period, sinking a midrange jumper at the buzzer to give Texas a commanding 55-41 lead.
Texas went into cruise control in the fourth quarter, slowing the pace en route to the 15-point victory.
The senior backcourt duo of McCarty and Atkins shined in the win. McCarty finished the outing with a team-high 17 points and six assists, while Atkins totaled 15 points and four rebounds.
“I think it’s a combination of them being seniors and having played at this level for almost four years now,” Aston said. “It’s a testament to their hard work. They’re always in the gym, and it’s paying off for them.”
The victory is one of Texas’ most impressive wins on the season, as four different Longhorns scored in double digits — a sign of the team’s depth in the aftermath of Caron-Goudreau’s injury.
“Yesterday in practice, Coach just told us to be ready when our number gets called,” said junior forward Jordan Hosey, one of the team’s biggest boosts off the bench. “We knew we’d need the whole team (today), so when our number got called, we just did what we could do.”
Texas (22–4, 13–2 Big 12) now shifts its focus to a home game against No. 3 Baylor on Monday night. The Bears handed the Longhorns their worst loss of the season on Jan. 25 in Waco, 81-56. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center.