Jene Morris

For the second time in two minutes, Brittainey Raven received an outlet pass on a fast break and was unable to convert on the point-blank, uncontested layup.

With an opportunity to narrow San Diego State’s lead to 10 with 6:39 remaining, the ball rolled all around the rim and somehow found a way to avoid falling through the net.

Raven threw both her arms into the air and looked up in frustration as she ran down the court to play defense.

This was the story of the game that ended the Longhorns’ season.

“It sucks,” a sobbing Raven said. “I wasn’t expecting this.”

The most basic of shots just would not go in for the Longhorns, who missed nine layups and 13 free throws in their opening-round loss to San Diego State in the NCAA Tournament.

“I don’t know what else to say — layups and free throws,” coach Gail Goestenkors said. “They’ve been shooting those probably since they were in second grade and couldn’t put them down.”

Whether a second-grader or a senior in college, if you don’t take advantage of what should be the easy baskets, you will not win.

“When that’s happening, you know, you’re going to have a long night, and you’re going to have a short season,” Goestenkors said.

An early 19-point lead by the Aztecs was too much for the Longhorns, who played from behind for nearly the entire game.

On two separate occasions, Texas managed to cut the deficit to six, but no further, as the Aztecs’ Jene Morris scored 32 points in the win.

Like the Longhorns, the Aztecs were having trouble making shots in the second half, only converting on five field goals.

Goestenkors had her team begin fouling with three minutes left in the game in an attempt to slow the game down.

But unlike the Longhorns, the Aztecs went nine for 10 from the free-throw line down the stretch to seal the upset win and advance to the second round against West Virginia.

The Longhorns came into the game expecting to make a deep run into the tournament and were left shocked as Morris and the Aztecs went on fire from behind the 3-point line, making eight of their 10 attempts.

“They were just on fire, and it became contagious for them,” Goestenkors said. “We couldn’t hit it, and I think it became contagious for us as well.”

San Diego State upsets higher-seeded Texas with surprise shooting success

Texas guard Ashleigh Fontenette takes one of many contested shots in the LonghornsÂ’ 74-63 loss to San Diego State on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Maxx Scholten | Daily Texan Staff

Either the San Diego State rim was bigger than Texas’, or the Longhorns had simply forgotten how to finish a bucket.

Whatever the case, the No. 6-seed Longhorns fell flat against No. 11-seed Aztecs 74-63 at the Frank Erwin Center on Sunday.

Texas, a first-round host team, was unable to protect its own house from the storm of shooters the Aztecs brought. The Longhorns jumped to an early four-point lead but then stalled. The Aztecs parked themselves in three-point land and drilled 8 of 10 3-pointers in the first half. They shot 17-30 overall in the half.

Normally only a 33 percent 3-point shooting team, San Diego State coach Beth Burns was happy the shots fell when they did.

“We were saving them,” Burns joked. “I think it’s important. Timing is everything with that.”

Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors did not expect the barrage of outside shots.

“I was stunned,” Goestenkors said. “They make about four and a half 3s a game, and they had eight. I mean, eight for 10. It’s just remarkable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of shooting half from somebody that’s more of a penetrating team.”

Texas, on the other hand, only managed to scrape together 22 of 66 shots. Not only did the Longhorns miss layup after layup, but they shot one of 13 from beyond the arc — an area in which they usually excel.

San Diego State entered halftime with a 44-30 lead, but still, Goestenkors was not worried.

“I told [Texas] two other teams in this tournament have been down 18 points and come back and won. So we were fine,” Goestenkors said. “We’ve been down quite a bit before in games and come back. We were going to look to trap a little bit more because we needed to get some tips and some steals and hopefully get some transition points.”

They didn’t, though they came close. With all the momentum and crowd noise behind them, the Longhorns mounted two comebacks in the second half. The Texas defense held the Aztecs to only five field goals in the second half, and Cokie Reed led the way on offense with eight points in the
second period.

However, every time Texas seemed to make a push, senior Aztec guard Jene Morris pushed back.

“As a team, we’ve gotten comfortable playing uncomfortable,” Morris said. “[Texas] is a great team, so we knew they were going to make runs. The key to winning is to be comfortable with the runs.”

Morris led all scorers with 32 points. She was nine of 18 from the field and nine of 11 from the charity stripe. She also hit five of eight 3-pointers.

Texas went on a 10-0 run late in the second half to cut the Aztec lead to six with more than two minutes left. The Longhorns then resorted to fouling the poor free-throwing shooting Aztecs. San Diego State hit them when it counted, though, to put the game out of reach.

As the final seconds of the clocked wound down, senior Brittainey Raven fouled out.

As she left the court to a standing ovation, the senior could only hide her head while tearing up.

“After the game, I told the seniors I felt terrible for them,” Goestenkors said. “I love them very, very much, and I feel very proud to have had the opportunity to coach them for three years, and I’m just sorry that I couldn’t help them to go further in the tournament because I think they deserved it.”