Brianna Taylor

Freshman guard Brooke McCarty drives past the Baylor defense. McCarty had her game-tying shot blocked at the end.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

With two minutes remaining in the game, and down by 5 points, Texas found itself in a position to end its losing skid. But Baylor proved to be too much once again — and the Longhorns fell to the Bears for the second time this season, 70-68.

Three pointers from freshman guard Brooke McCarty and junior guard Brady Sanders cut the deficit to 4 points in the waning minutes for Texas. After a missed Baylor field goal, sophomore guard Brianna Taylor’s mid-ranged jumper made it a 2-point game, and, with less than a minute remaining, Texas had the opportunity to tie, or even win. But Baylor forward Nina Davis blocked McCarty’s floater, and it was all over.

“It was a play that I felt like we were comfortable running,” head coach Karen Aston said. “I did think we could get to the next portion of the play, which would have been an odd ball with [sophomore center Kelsey Lang] coming out the setting one with [freshman guard Ariel Atkins], which would have gotten them in a two-man game.”

Sanders said she felt the failure of the last play. 

“I missed Ariel coming off the screen, and I should have tried to definitely get it to her,” Sanders said. “But I shouldn’t have had that mistake.”

Sunday’s match is the 10th straight time the Bears defeated the Longhorns, who now sit at 4–7 in the Big 12. Baylor found holes in Texas 2–3 defense in both halves finding quality looks for 3-point shots and penetrating the lane. Aston said despite the team’s shortcomings, she felt encouraged by their performance.

“Obviously there are no moral victories in this game at all, but I’m pleased with the way we played the game today,” Aston said.” I think if we can build on this then we can get back on track.”

Lang picked up a double-double, scoring 20 points with 11 boards. Sanders led the team with six assists, joining double-digits club with 14 points, and Taylor ended with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Junior guard Empress Davenport returned to action and played 22 minutes with 2 points, but ultimately fouled out. She had missed the last two games after injuring her right shoulder.

Despite the loss, Aston said she felt this was the first game where the team was ready to move forward from the adversity it has faced this season. Lang also said she thinks the team is starting to understand how to move forward without senior forward Nneka Enemkpali.

“No one person is going to fill what she was, because she was an amazing player,” Lang said. “But we are all starting to realize we need to take on a little part of her role. Hopefully that will help fill the void.”

Texas returns to action Wednesday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, against Oklahoma State.

Senior forward Nneka Enemkpali scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting against Tennessee on Sunday. Enemkpali sunk 13 of her points during the second half of Texas’ 72-59 win.

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

Outscoring its opponent 38-26 in the paint under the leadership of sophomore center Kelsey Lang’s 18 points and six rebounds, the women’s basketball team defeated the fourth-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 72-59.

Despite this matchup being the 33rd consecutive season the teams played one another, Sunday’s victory is the first time since 2008 the Longhorns defeated the Lady Volunteers.

Texas head coach Karen Aston said she didn’t know whether the team would win but knew they had prepared well.

“I thought this was a really tremendous effort from our basketball team,” Aston said. “I think our inside game was terrific today. They battled really hard … and did the things it takes to be a presence in the paint.”

The Longhorns grabbed the lead early in the first half and extended as high as a 12-point margin.

In the second half, sophomore guard Brianna Taylor and senior forward Nneka Enemkpali continued their scoring streaks. Enemkpali went 7-of-10 from the field to score 13 of her 17 points in the second half. Taylor did not miss a shot the entire game, totaling 10 points and five rebounds.

“I come off the bench and give us energy, rebound, defend and help [Enemkpali] out down there in the paint,” Taylor said. “[I’m] just coming in, being solid and getting stops on defense, so I’m learning.”

Within 10 days, the Longhorns (5-0) won two games against top-5 opponents. Aston said the wins influence the players’ mind-set significantly.

“We have players that have never been in these situations before or players that are older that have not had these significant wins before, so I think from a confidence perspective, it is unbelievable,” Aston said. “Now we have a long way to go.”

This season, Lang has scored double digits in every game. She said that after the team found out about junior center Imani McGee-Stafford’s injury, she changed her mentality to become an offensive threat.

“My teammates and coaches have helped me so much with that,” Lang said. “I have gained so much confidence because they have confidence in me.”

Freshman guard Ariel Atkins ended the game with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Enemkpali said she overheard Atkins talking about how fun the season has been so far, but Enemkpali said the veterans must remind teammates that the season is far from over.  

“If you want it to continue to be fun, then we have to work as hard as we’re working to continue to have fun,” Enemkpali said.

The Longhorns will continue their six-game home stint against New Mexico on Wednesday at 7 p.m.