Bonnie Henrickson

Sophomore guard Empress Davenport throws up a shot during Texas' game against West Virginia on Saturday. The Longhorns travel to Lawrence, Kan., on Tuesday to try and record their first Big 12 road win. 

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

Karen Aston, women’s basketball head coach, and the Longhorns know how to win a basketball game. They know how to beat ranked opponents, and they know how to outrebound, outscore, outplay and outlast conference and non-conference opponents alike.

But they haven’t figured out how to do it on the road.

Texas (13-6, 4-3 Big 12) has won 10 of its 11 home games this season, including four conference matches. But an unimpressive 1-4 road record reminds the team that it has yet to win a single conference away game. 

“[Our first match against West Virginia] was a road game and when they got the momentum, that made the difference,” Aston said Jan. 15 after the Longhorns’ first game against the Jayhawks. “Just like the Oklahoma game made a difference here. When we gained momentum late in the game, the crowd was tremendous for us.”

In a rematch against West Virginia on Saturday, Texas redeemed an overtime loss from earlier in the season. Junior forward Nneka Enemkpali paced the Longhorns with a conference-high 21 rebounds and 15 points.

Aston said that “execution down the stretch” and maintaining play during final minutes of games will make or break remaining conference matchups. Texas has shown a knack for mastering those toss-ups at home but has continued strong on the road. The Longhorns dropped each road conference match by single-digit margins.

“Right now our team is a little more comfortable at home,” Aston said after Texas’ first season matchup with Kansas at the Frank Erwin Center.

Texas did not trail the Jayhawks that game and recorded leads as high as 17 points. The Longhorns shot 47.1 percent in the first half and forced nine turnovers in that period alone. Yet protecting the ball wasn’t a task restricted to just half the court as Texas grabbed 22 offensive rebounds throughout the match.

“Texas was aggressive, they got us in transition and they got us on the glass,” Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson said after that game. “When you regress with those, those are the most aggressive things you can do is go get opportunities in transition and offensive rebounds.”

Numerous Longhorns contributed to securing the win against Kansas. But sophomore center Imani McGee-Stafford led the team, scoring a career-high 24 points and grabbed nearly half the team’s boards. The Jayhawk defense had no answer.

“You have to get that [McGee-Stafford’s] head down and get more disruptive,” Henrickson said. “We have to be more active with her. We sat behind her.”

McGee-Stafford and the Longhorns will look to avoid any hints of their previous road woes as they aim to maintain the level of competition they showed the Jayhawks at home. 

They still know how to outrebound, outscore and outplay teams. And they’ve done it against Kansas. Tuesday night, Texas needs to show Kansas that maybe — just maybe — there is some place like home.

Sophmoreguard Chassidy Fussell dribbles up the court against Kansas State at the Frank Erwin Center. Fussell has led the Longhorns in scoring with 16.3 points per game. She put up 22 more points in the Longhorns' 85-61 loss against Kansas on Wednessday night. Texas has now lost 4 straight games.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

With a chance to end a three-game losing skid and improve its NCAA tournament odds, Texas never gave itself a chance against Kansas on Wednesday night.

Another slow start and a poor defensive performance by the Longhorns led to an 85-61 victory for the Jayhawks in Lawrence. Kansas’ 85 points were the most given up by Texas this season and the 24-point gap was the greatest margin of defeat suffered by the Longhorns this year. It was also the first time the Longhorns had lost a game at Allen Fieldhouse since the 2005-2006 season.

“We got off to a great start and we were able to get some great separation in the second half,” said Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson.

After trailing by as many as 17 in the first half, Texas showed resilience and poise, clawing its way back into the game and reducing the deficit to just three points in the early minutes of the second half. But they would get no closer. A combination of steady scoring from the Jayhawks and horrible shot selection by the Longhorns cost Texas any chance at the lead and allowed Kansas to pull away.

“We just didn’t want to let them make a comeback,” said senior Jayhawk forward Aishah Sutherland. “We worked hard to build the big lead and we just had to keep at it and stay consistent. We couldn’t afford to get soft and give them the opportunity to get a lead.”

Texas shot a horrific 22.9 percent from the field in the second half and failed to get any offensive production from its post players. The Longhorn bigs combined to score just 19 points on the night and converted on just eight of their 23 field goal attempts.

Kansas’ scoring attack was led by Sutherland, who tied her career high with 24 points, and added 12 rebounds to earn her sixth double-double of the season.

“I was more focused than usual today,” Sutherland said. “I wasn’t as hyper as I usually am. I just tried to stay focused and keep my head in the game.”

Even more impressive was the play of Jayhawk point guard Angel Goodrich. The 5’4” junior’s career-high 16 assists were the most ever at Allen Fieldhouse.

“I was very surprised,” Goodrich said. “I don’t really keep track of my assists. Everything just went so smoothly out there, it just came down to my teammates knocking down shots.”

She matched her record setting assist total with an even 16 points.

Chassidy Fussell carried the offensive load yet again for the Longhorns. The sophomore guard had 22 points and was a perfect eight for eight from the free-throw line. Unfortunately for Texas, the supporting cast failed to show up. Senior guards Ashleigh Fontenette and Yvonne Anderson had just 10 points each and struggled to find their stroke as they shot a combined 36 percent and failed to hit a 3-pointer all game.

The Longhorns will look to stop the bleeding and stay relevant in the tournament conversation when they take on Oklahoma State this Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.