Karen Aston

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

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.

Photo Credit: Jessica Joseph | Daily Texan Staff

Jatarie White went exploring.

The junior center typically roams the paint, scavenging inside for easy buckets no more than a step or two away from the rim. Texas Tech made them hard to come by early in No. 6 Texas’ 87-72 win over the Red Raiders on Wednesday night at the Frank Erwin Center.

Sophomore forward Joyner Holmes started in place of senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau, who was out with a bruised left wrist. Holmes doesn’t have the same outside touch as her injured counterpart.

White tried to share the interior with Holmes. But after fighting through double teams on her first two makes, White knew she needed to venture into mid-range territory.

With 4:45 remaining in the first quarter, White received a bounce pass from senior guard Ariel Atkins just above the free throw line and rose for a jumper. The ball rolled around, hung on the front of the rim for an eternity, then fell in. She hit another jumper from the left elbow, going 4-for-4 in the first quarter and scoring eight of Texas’ first 10 points. 

“I’ve been getting in the gym a little bit more with Coach Tina (Thompson) and working on my shooting form,” White said. “Also, noticing Coach (Aston) telling us that they were kind of closing in on the paint, flashing into the high post is just where I wanted to find the open space.”

The Longhorns still struggled. Texas couldn’t find the usual cracks in the defense without Caron-Goudreau’s floor spacing. The Red Raiders ended the quarter leading 19-16.

Texas head coach Karen Aston shook things up in the second quarter. She started sophomore wing Jada Underwood at the power forward spot to open things up on offense. It worked — but at a cost.

On Texas’ first possession, senior guard Brooke McCarty drove inside for an and-one layup and made the ensuing free throw. Texas Tech responded on the other end with a layup of its own.

The Red Raiders pummeled the Longhorns in the post. Underwood and Atkins were too small to contain Texas Tech’s 6-foot-4-inch senior center, Jada Terry, or 6-foot-6-inch sophomore center Erin Degrate. Terry and Degrate finished the half combining for 18 points.

“It’s frustrating as a player not being able to — kind of just giving up easy one-foot points,” White said.

Aston turned to 6-foot-3-inch freshman forward Rellah Boothe to plug the hole on defense. She thrived. Boothe was enough of a perimeter threat on offense to keep her defender from sagging off, and she had the size to slow down Texas Tech’s bigs on defense.

Boothe entered the game with 6:24 remaining in the half and Texas clinging to a three-point lead. Four different players scored on an 8-2 Texas run, including Boothe. The freshman came out a few possessions later at the 2:17 mark with the Longhorns leading 41-34. 

“Rellah played some valuable minutes,” Aston said. “When you have a night like tonight where people aren’t clicking as well as they typically do or you need to rest some players sometimes, things like that, that’s what a bench is about. I was very pleased.”

Texas went to a 2-3 zone defense in the second half, fortifying the paint and forcing more turnovers that led to transition baskets. McCarty pilfered the ball on back-to-back plays and racked up six points to cap off a 10-0 run by the Longhorns late in the third quarter. The Red Raiders trailed by double-digits the remainder of the game.

White finished with 11 points and one rebound. McCarty tallied 13 points, one rebound and one assist.

The Longhorns (21–4, 12–2 Big 12) will hit the road to take on No. 21 Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday. Though Texas won its previous matchup with Oklahoma State at home by five points, White said the team can’t afford to lose its focus.

“I try not to think about the last game,” White said. “I try to think about what that team does and where they’re successful … Kind of knowing what they do already and not really focusing on how many points they score.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Kansas State played two steps ahead on Saturday night, and it didn’t matter.

The No. 6 Longhorns won on the Wildcats’ terms at the Frank Erwin Center, besting a Kansas State team that seemed to make all the necessary adjustments.

Texas 76; Kansas State 54.

The first adjustment came two minutes into the game when junior forward Jatarie White put the Wildcats on notice by scoring the opening four Texas points and snagging two offensive rebounds.

Kansas State head coach Jeff Mittie countered, quickly subbing senior forward Kaylee Page out for 6-foot-4-inch freshman center Mary Lakes. The increase in size proved effective as White went silent for the remainder of the quarter, failing to score another point.

The second adjustment came after the Longhorns (20–4, 11–2 Big 12) implemented a full-court press midway through the first — the same press that forced Kansas State into 19 turnovers when the two teams previously faced off on Jan. 7.

This time, the Wildcats kept their cool, repeatedly breaking the press and extending their range for a banquet of open threes. Kansas State made the Longhorns pay, shooting 3-of-4 from deep as Texas ended the first quarter with a hard-earned 23-21 lead.

“We got a little undisciplined,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “We fouled and didn’t always get back in transition, so I thought that allowed (Kansas State) to make a lot of plays.”

The Wildcats intensified the pressure in the second quarter, this time focusing on Texas’ attack in the paint. Kansas State forced the Longhorns to change their bruising style of play, using a 2-3 zone that dared them to shoot from deep instead.

The Longhorns failed to take advantage, shooting an abysmal 1-of-5 from long range as they clung to a 27-25 lead with 7:17 left before halftime.

With Texas’ starting lineup struggling to generate offense, Aston made an adjustment of her own, calling sophomore guard Alecia Sutton off the bench for a spark.

The move paid off as the St. Louis native scored four points, including a buzzer-beating 2-point pull-up before the half that capped off a 12-5 Longhorn run and gave Texas a 39-30 lead.

“I just felt like it brought the energy up after I made that shot,” Sutton said. “We were kind of dead in the first half, so I just wanted to give some energy to the team.”

With the game still up for grabs, Texas found its saving grace in senior Brooke McCarty. The shifty 5-foot-4-inch guard, who’d been contained to just four points in the first half, finally broke free in the third quarter.

McCarty exposed the Wildcats’ defense, igniting a personal 10-0 run as the Longhorns blew open a 60-41 lead with 3:30 left in the third quarter. For the first time all night, Kansas State didn’t have an answer.

Texas rallied around its senior leader as the Longhorns entered the final quarter of play with an imposing 66-44 lead.

“I just fed off my teammates,” McCarty said. “I tried to get them the ball, but when I was open they got me the ball and I just took advantage of what the defense gave me.”

The fourth quarter was merely a formality as Texas put the finishing touches on a 22-point win. McCarty finished the night with a team-high 17 points.

Sophomore forward Joyner Holmes also excelled, after senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau was sidelined by a left wrist injury in the second quarter. Holmes scored 11 points and added seven rebounds. The Cedar Hill native could see more minutes in the future, should Caron-Goudreau miss some time with the injury.

“I think I can contribute in whatever way my team needs,” Holmes said. “It’ll be tough, but I think I can fill her role as best as I can.”

The victory marked Texas’ fifth-straight season with at least 20 wins. The Longhorns have little time for celebration, though, as they now shift their focus to a home game against Texas Tech on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

 

Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

Chasity Patterson couldn’t catch a break.

At a practice on Dec. 5, 2017, the Longhorns scrimmaged against an all-male scout team. Patterson held her own on offense.

But on defense, Patterson was tasked with guarding a bigger, quicker ballhandler. He scored every other play.

Texas head coach Karen Aston wanted her team to string a few stops together before she subbed in a fresh crew. Twenty minutes passed. Aston was tired of Patterson’s ineptitude. 

Patterson was just tired.

“Chas, these post players can’t help you,” Aston said to Patterson. “They’re busy literally guarding the other team’s best players. Stop relying on them. Stop letting your man do whatever he wants and stop the ball. You have one minute to catch your breath and learn how to play.”

Patterson sharpened up. Texas earned a few consecutive stops, and Aston ended the practice shortly after.

It was a “welcome to college” moment for the freshman point guard. She and the other Longhorn freshmen have been through a few.

Chasity Patterson scored a season-high 13 points in the Longhorns' 120-70 win over UTSA on Nov. 17. | Photo credit: Katie Bauer

Patterson was the No. 4 player in the country prior to arriving at Texas. She was joined by No. 3-ranked Rellah Boothe, a forward, and No. 33-ranked Destiny Littleton, a guard, in the highest-ranked class of Aston’s tenure at Texas.

“Those guys are ‘The Gunners,’” Aston said. “You can call them the Gunners because those three can shoot it.”

Each Gunner is equipped with a snappy release and elite accuracy. They are lethal from nearly everywhere on the court and are always ready to pull the trigger.

“I definitely feel that this class is special at the 3-point range,” Littleton said. “Last year, I felt like they were lacking in 3-point shooters, and teams could guard them very easily. Even though we might not be playing 40 minutes a game, when we do come in the game, we can definitely make an effect.”

But the freshmen don’t always bring the same intensity to the defensive end. Speed complicates things. Everyone’s fast in college, and you can’t relax.

“I’ve never been exposed to the things I’m exposed to here,” Boothe said. “In high school, I was able to beat everybody down the court. But now, it’s like everybody’s good. Everybody’s a good team, and you have to play hard every day.”

The trio has struggled so far. Most newcomers do. But Aston doesn’t cut them any slack.

Playing time is scarce. Aston has juggled her bench minutes all year, and a team revving up for a deep postseason run doesn’t have time for players who aren’t ready.

The head coach has tried her best. She’s dispensed spot minutes intermittently, giving each player a taste of what in-game action feels like.

The fourth quarter has become recess for the kids. When the Longhorns have pulled away early in games this season, Aston has often let the freshmen run the show in the fourth quarter. It hasn’t happened every game, though. Aston has stuck with her upperclassmen if the Longhorns trail or can’t quite shake their opponent. Some games, the freshmen have never checked in.

The Gunners knew how talented Texas was when they committed to the Longhorns. It’s one of the reasons they wanted to play here.

“I definitely could have went to a team where I was the best player, but that’s not what I want,” Littleton said. “I want to get better. That’s why I came to Texas, and that’s why I felt these players would make me better each and every day.”

But it hasn’t been easy. Each freshman was a star in high school. They were used to playing nearly the entire game — not riding the bench.

Littleton was the leading scorer in California state high school history. Boothe won a gold medal with the USA under-18 team at the FIBA Americas Championship in 2016 . Patterson was this season’s Big 12 preseason freshman of the year.

Despite their accolades, the trio are on pace to play the fewest total minutes out of any of Aston’s freshman classes at Texas.

“I think that’s the biggest adjustment … coming from high school to here,” Boothe said. “I’m not used to coming off the bench. It feels weird, but then again, we all want to win. But I want to be able to help.”

Rellah Boothe scored a season-high 14 points in Texas' 79-58 win over then-No. 9 West Virginia on Dec. 31. | Photo credit: Angela Wang

Patterson was at work again on Jan. 29, putting up shots with sophomore wing Jada Underwood during a practice at the Frank Erwin Center.

Underwood was in the same position as each of the Gunners last season and knows how difficult it is to develop a role on the team.

She also knows how to get through it.

“I think when Coach calls your name, you’ve just got to grind,” Underwood said. “You’ve just got to give 100 percent, whether it’s 10 minutes, 20, 30, 40.”

Underwood launched a shot from 3-point range with Patterson watching. The ball went long, ricocheting off the back of the rim.

“Jada, your hands are coming way too close together,” assistant coach Jamie Carey said.

“I felt it,” Underwood replied.

Patterson took mental notes. She listened, nodded, then raised up for another triple. The ball sailed in. She’s still learning.

Underwood stepped up again and hit her next shot. She’s still learning, too.

“You learn a lot from (your freshman year),” Underwood said. “You see what you could do better. You see what you don’t do. You learn who Coach (Aston) is and what Coach likes. It’s a learning process.”

Each freshman has big goals. They want to win awards and national championships. But the trio probably won’t see an increase in playing time this season. The NCAA Tournament looms, and Aston has to tighten up her rotation.

The freshmen’s time will come. Aston hoped it would be this season, but it hasn’t worked out that way.

“I thought they would contribute,” Aston said. “They’ve had some setbacks that, quite honestly, were unexpected … So, their skill sets definitely would help us. But they have to be at a place where they feel really comfortable and confident. And they’ve had some setbacks with that.”

For now, the Gunners stay holstered, ready to fire away.

Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

Even as No. 6 Texas began to pull away during a 73-55 victory at the WVU Coliseum on Monday night, the Mountaineers refused to slow down.

After surrendering seven unanswered Texas points to start the game, West Virginia freshman guard Ashley Jones and senior forward Teana Muldrow hit back-to-back threes to cut the deficit down to one point with 6:33 left in the first quarter.

The Mountaineers started to fly up and down the floor and whip the ball all over the court. It was similar to the Longhorns’ style of play — tight defense leading to fast breaks and easy transition points.

West Virginia’s resilience stunned Texas at first. The Longhorns weren’t used to their opponents keeping up with them, but by the end of the first quarter, Texas trailed 19-18.

“It was an interesting game,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “As physical as we both play defense, nobody shot free throws hardly. That’s usually interesting between us and West Virginia. It’s usually a blood bath.”

Aston countered by shifting Texas’ offensive focus inside. The Longhorns ran more plays through their posts and crashed the offensive boards to claim a 37-26 lead heading into the half.

“I think the first half, there was a lot of attention paid to our guards,” Aston said. “I told them at halftime that we only had four offensive rebounds, and I think that (senior forward) Audrey(-Ann Caron-Goudreau) had all of them. So, that must have motivated (junior forward) Jatarie (White).”

Midway through the third quarter, junior guard Lashann Higgs nuzzled past her defender and stormed toward the rim. White’s defender slid to cut her off. Higgs took an extra dribble, then wrapped around the help defense to find White wide open. White scored despite being fouled and converted the and-one free throw.

White asserted herself in the third quarter, erupting for nine points and four rebounds.

But West Virginia kept shooting.

The Mountaineers made 50 percent of their outside shots and finished the night making more threes than two-pointers. The hot shooting allowed them to stay within arm’s reach of the lead for the majority of the game. Entering the fourth quarter, West Virginia trailed by just 10 points.

“We let them shoot threes all night long,” Aston said. “But that’s what they do — they do it really well. We’ll go back and look at film and see where we could’ve been a little bit better in that area because obviously 10 threes is too many.”

The Longhorns leaned on their seniors to hold West Virginia off.

Senior guard Ariel Atkins had just four points through the first three quarters. Late in the fourth, she tipped a pass from Muldrow and hustled to keep the ball inbounds. She reached it just before stepping on the sideline, twirled and found fellow senior guard Brooke McCarty streaking up the floor for the easy finish.

The pair closed the game out on a 9-0 run, assisting or scoring on every basket.

“I kind of just picked up my energy on defense and started feeding off the energy from my teammates,” Atkins said. “They didn’t get down on me. They kept me energized. They told me to keep playing. They told me to do the best I could on defense, and once I kind of amped up and I looked in their eyes, they kept believing in me, kept the energy up. I didn’t have a choice but to play.”

Atkins finished the game with 17 points, including 13 in the final quarter. White finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Texas (19–4, 10–2 Big 12) has played three games in six days. The Longhorns will get some much-needed rest before hosting Kansas State (12–11, 4–8 Big 12) at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday. Still, Atkins knows there’s no time to waste.

“There’s work to be done,” Atkins said. “My focus is my team. This is my last year, this is my last chance to really give them what I’ve got. And I want to give everything I have left in my tank to my college career.”

Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

No. 8 Texas has lost to four different teams this season, but TCU was different.

When TCU sophomore guard Kianna Ray hit a pair of free throws to take a 79-77 lead over the Longhorns on Jan. 10 in Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs became the first non-ranked team of the year to beat Texas. The loss stung.

“You definitely feel a little more motivated,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said on Saturday. “We wanted to win today.”

Texas got its revenge on Saturday in a 92-65 win over No. 22 TCU at the Frank Erwin Center.

The Longhorns set the tone defensively from the opening possession.

TCU won the tip and gave junior center Jordan Moore control on the first shot of the game. Moore drove into the lane but was met by senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron Goudreau. Moore raised her arms for a layup. Caron-Goudreau did the same to stop it and knocked the ball away.

Junior guard Lashann Higgs missed a jumpshot on the next play, and the Horned Frogs zoomed back down on offense. This time, TCU sophomore forward Adeola Akomolafe took her turn to drive inside. Caron-Goudreau swatted the ball again.

“She helps us a lot,” senior guard Ariel Atkins said. “I think she’s taken it personal that we haven’t particularly guarded posts well in the past. She’s been doing things in the game that haven’t been showing up on the stat sheet … It’s just a credit to her and her attention to detail.”

The Horned Frogs struggled to score for the rest of the first quarter. A pair of free throws from freshman guard Lauren Heard and a layup from junior guard Dakota Vann were the only shots that fell in.

Texas went into the second quarter with a 27-4 lead. TCU had more turnovers — seven — than it did points.

The defensive prowess wasn’t sustainable, even as the Longhorns began utilizing a full-court press. The Horned Frogs scored 20 points in the second quarter, but by then the game had already been decided.

Atkins and fellow senior guard Brooke McCarty led the team with 16 points each. The duo had an answer for every puzzling defender TCU threw their way.

“I had a talk with Coach this week and my teammates this week and it’s just — I’m thinking too much,” McCarty said. “(Today) I think I just fed off of my teammates and just kind of let everything go out the window.”

Caron-Goudreau finished with seven points, four rebounds and a career-high six blocks. The victory proved to the team how dominant Texas can be.

“I thought our team was pretty special today,” Aston said. “Lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm, shared the ball and really seemed somewhat connected. I could nitpick on a few things, but I did think that, for the most part, it was a pretty complete performance for our team.”

The Longhorns will travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, on Monday to take on the Mountaineers. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau walked into the Frank Erwin Center on Friday determined to figure out what went wrong.

The senior forward and her team were still licking their wounds from an 81-56 mauling at the hands of No. 3 Baylor on Thursday night — Texas’ worst loss since 2016.

Now the Longhorns faced a short turnaround as they were set to host Iowa State on Saturday at 7 p.m. But instead of drilling her team with a tough day of practice and yelling, head coach Karen Aston sent them to the film room.

What Caron-Goudreau saw was eye opening.

“(Our) energy and connectivity between players wasn’t there during the Baylor game,” Caron-Goudreau said. “But we didn’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves. We just had to go to sleep early and go back to work the next day.”

Caron-Goudreau walked into the Erwin Center on Saturday with one thing on her mind – beating Iowa State. That mindset translated into an 87-55 thrashing of the Cyclones on Saturday night — the largest win-margin for Texas in the history of the two teams’ series.

Iowa State came out with some intensity of its own to start, as senior guard Emily Durr torched the Longhorns for the first nine Cyclone points of the game.

With Texas scrambling for an answer, Ariel Atkins delivered. The senior guard countered by nailing a mid-range jumper and sinking a corner three as the Longhorns trailed, 12-11, with 3:08 left in the first quarter.

Texas followed Atkins’ lead, clawing its way to an 18-17 advantage at the break.

“Iowa State is hard to guard,” Aston said. “I thought that after the first quarter we did a pretty good job of adjusting.”

The Cyclones didn’t budge in the second quarter, battling the Longhorns to reclaim a 29-28 lead with 4:19 left before halftime.

Texas dug deep, calling sophomore forward Joyner Holmes off the bench for a source of offense in the paint. Holmes made the most of her seven minutes, exploding for six points and four rebounds in the quarter.

Iowa State had no answer for the Longhorns’ attack as Texas ended the quarter on an 11-1 run to take a 39-30 lead at the half.

“I think it was just about recognizing our matchups,” Holmes said. “They had some smalls on us, and so I just took advantage of the matchup and tried to score inside the paint.”

The Longhorns went for the knockout at the start of the third quarter, suffocating the Cyclones with a full-court press that resulted in three turnovers and a 14-0 Texas run.

Caron-Goudreau finally broke free, feasting off an Iowa State defense that looked feeble in the paint. The 6-foot-4 senior put on a clinic, scoring 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting as Texas took a commanding 66-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

“It was definitely different from the Baylor game,” Caron-Goudreau said. “I feel like we were able to pass it more to the post. It was just a different game.”

The fourth quarter saw no change as Texas placed the finishing touches on a dominant 32-point win. Atkins led the way with a team-high 15 points on an efficient 6-for-8 performance. Caron-Goudreau kept pace, posting 12 points to go with a pair of rebounds.

The victory gives Texas (16–4, 7–2 Big 12) some momentum as the Longhorns must now hit the road for a showdown against Kansas on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

WACO, Texas — Three looks inside and zero points to show for it.

Late in the second quarter of No. 6 Texas’ 81-56 loss to No. 3 Baylor on Thursday night, sophomore guard Alecia Sutton received an inbound pass near the left block, a half-step in front of her defender. Another dribble would have given her a chance at a layup.

Instead, Sutton just glanced inside and dribbled back near the top of the key to reset the offense. She noticed junior forward Olamide Aborowa wide open on the opposite side of the lane and lobbed a pass.

Aborowa mishandled the catch. She pump-faked once, then pitched it to Jada Underwood in the middle of the floor. The sophomore wing hesitated, then tried for an up-and-under post move right before the shot clock ran out.

A thicket of long-limbed Bears loomed in the paint. The Longhorns couldn’t explode their way through it. They tried dancing around it instead, but never found the right rhythm. The ball rimmed out, completing a sequence that encapsulated Texas’ night.

“I didn’t think they played scared. I just didn’t think they matched Baylor’s passion,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “There’s been a couple of times this year when we haven’t done that. And this was by far our worst performance as far as simple things like competition.”

Baylor sophomore forward Lauren Cox collected the rebound and found freshman guard Alexis Morris on the outlet pass. Morris zoomed to the opposite end of the court and hit a mid-range jumper in transition, putting Baylor up 44-25 with 41 seconds left in the quarter.

Senior guard Brooke McCarty dripped in a buzzer-beating floater to end the half, but Texas was ultimately exiled to the perimeter. The Bears finished the game with seven blocks — including six from Cox alone — and out-rebounded the Longhorns, 50-34.

“I would say that their size and their length definitely makes it a little bit more difficult,” junior guard Lashann Higgs said. “But we’re just not competitive. They out-competed us. They were just tougher than us and were playing with a purpose.”

The Longhorns struggled just as much from outside. Texas launched plenty of open triples and jump shots, but the ball rarely found the bottom of the net. McCarty and fellow senior guard Ariel Atkins combined to shoot just 8-for-30 from the field and 3-for-10 from three for 27 points.

Atkins’ composure suffered. Once the game slipped away, she began setting the ball on the floor after every call against Texas rather than handing it to the referee. She committed seven of the team’s 16 turnovers.

“It is frustrating when you don’t show up,” Atkins said. “They out-worked us, had more energy, they played with passion. They were a team tonight and we weren’t.”

Baylor (18–1, 8–0 Big 12) was one of the toughest opponents Texas (15–4, 6–2 Big 12) has played all season. 

Still, Aston knew her team could have performed better.

“I was a little surprised — a lot surprised by the lack of composure and competitiveness,” Aston said. “It was just a little bit of an old-fashioned butt-kicking.”

The Longhorns can’t afford to dwell on the loss. The Big 12 doesn’t allow teams much time to rest between games, and Texas is no exception.

“You’ve just got to go on to the next thing and just get back into the gym,” Higgs said. “Baylor wanted it more, so we can’t dwell on it.”

Texas hosts Iowa State at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“We have to turn the page really quickly,” Aston said. “(Friday) will be more of a mental day. It’s not one of those times where you can go in there and run them to death or try to fix a competitive thing. They know — they’re competitive players. They know that they didn’t show up tonight. We have to turn the page and get ready for Iowa State.”

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

In front of a crowd of over 11,000, the Huskies got hit in the mouth.

Early in the first quarter of No. 9 Texas’ 75-71 loss to No. 1 UConn on Monday night, junior wing Katie Lou Samuelson got smacked in the face with an elbow. The Huskies’ leading scorer buried her face in her hands and gingerly walked to the other side of the court at Frank Erwin Center.

The Longhorns were up 12-7 with 5:57 remaining. With Samuelson off the floor, Texas began to stifle the UConn offense and dropped bombs from distance. A midrange jumper from sophomore guard Alecia Sutton capped off a 10-5 run.

“I definitely thought we would show up because our preparation was good,” head coach Karen Aston said. “I thought they looked like a team that wanted to play differently than maybe they have been playing for a week or so.”

But UConn and Samuelson recovered. Samuelson returned to the floor at the 2:37 mark and closed out the quarter by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater over junior guard Lashann Higgs that shrunk the Longhorns’ lead to 24-21.

The deep ball stopped falling for Texas in the second quarter. After hitting 4-of-8 treys in the first, the Longhorns didn’t drain another triple until the fourth quarter. UConn rode the moment. The Huskies took the lead a handful of possessions later and clung to a 39-38 lead heading into halftime.

Once the outside shot was no longer an option, Texas shifted its point of attack to the paint.

“They were having so much success just putting it on the floor and going to the basket,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “I think they said, ‘We can get three the old-fashioned way.’ You know, get a layup and get fouled.”

On the team’s first possession of the third quarter, Higgs drove down the right baseline, drew a double team and found junior center Jatarie White at the elbow for an open jump shot.

White scored another six points in the quarter on post moves and putbacks that kept the Longhorns in the game.

The lead changed seven times in the third quarter, but Texas trailed 61-55 heading into the fourth.

Higgs ended the Longhorns’ cold streak from deep off an assist from senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau, cutting the lead in half. The Huskies missed their next shot, and senior guard Brooke McCarty scooped in a layup with just a second left on the shot clock to bring Texas within one.

UConn was called for an offensive foul at the other end. Then Higgs attacked the right block again, this time coming off a screen from senior guard Ariel Atkins. The Longhorns were finally leading, 62-61, with just 7:59 left in the game.

But they couldn’t hold it. UConn senior guard Gabby Williams hit a jumper on the next play, and Texas trailed the rest of the game.

Down 73-70 with 24.7 seconds remaining, the Longhorns fouled three consecutive times to push the Huskies into the bonus and send Samuelson to the free throw line. UConn had been a perfect 15-of-15 from the stripe all night. But Samuelson missed the first, and then the second.

Texas called timeout and Caron-Goudreau was fouled on the next play, giving the Longhorns an opportunity to cut the lead to one. She missed the first, but made the second. Texas immediately fouled UConn sophomore guard Crystal Dangerfield, who hit both of her free throws.

A last-ditch three from Sutton fell short as time expired. The Huskies had claimed victory.

White finished the game with 18 points and six rebounds. Atkins, Higgs and McCarty combined for 41 points. Though they didn’t come away with the win, the Longhorns were still pleased with the progress they showed.

“We proved that we don’t need to take days off,” White said. “I think that as a team, we know where we are right now and where we could be. And everyday in practice, we need to have that same energy.”

Texas (14–3, 5–1 Big 12) will travel to Lubbock on Saturday to take on Texas Tech.

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

Joyner Holmes was frustrated.

The sophomore forward spent nearly half the season serving a semester-long suspension in the fall. When she returned, she was relegated to the bench despite starting in all but two games last season. Through five games this year, she averaged just 7.4 minutes.

And, to top it off, No. 7 Texas lost to unranked TCU on Wednesday night. Holmes played 10 minutes and turned the ball over three times.

“I think if anybody was in my position, at this point, I’d think you’d have some frustration,” Holmes said. “Just waking up knowing that I’m as good as the players that are playing and I just want to be able to contribute in any way I can.”

Prior to the Longhorns’ 79-62 win over Kansas at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday, head coach Karen Aston made sure to go over film with her team and encouraged the players to sharpen their attention to detail. Holmes took the advice to heart. Aston noticed.

“She kind of had a look like ‘I know I’ve got to start valuing my reps so that I can get myself back in game mode,” Aston said. “And I thought that she had her best practice (Friday).”

Aston rewarded Holmes’ work ethic with more opportunities in Texas’ victory over Kansas on Saturday.

Senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau was held out of the game with a quad contusion suffered against the Horned Frogs. Sophomore guard Alecia Sutton took Caron-Goudreau’s place in the starting lineup, but Holmes and senior guard Ariel Atkins took most of the minutes at power forward.

Holmes seemed uncomfortable at first. She finished the first half with two points on 1-of-5 shooting, two rebounds and two turnovers. The Longhorns were off to a slow start again, trailing 31-29.

Atkins was frustrated, too. She had four steals and two blocks by halftime, but Texas still couldn’t overtake the lead from the Jayhawks. She wasn’t sure what else she could do, so she consulted with her team.

“I’m no good to my team when I’m overhyped or trying to do too much,” Atkins said. “So, I talked to my coaches, even some of my teammates, and they just told me to calm down and play. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

Atkins racked up 10 points and four rebounds in the third quarter, sparking a 16-4 run that gave Texas a nine-point lead. Holmes followed Atkins’ example.

The sophomore started crashing the boards and found chemistry sharing the paint with junior center Jatarie White. Holmes grabbed six offensive rebounds and dished out two assists on post feeds to White.

“(Holmes is) such a difficult matchup, not only for us but for a lot of teams in the country,” Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider said. “There’s very few players that have her size, strength and athleticism. And she dominated the glass in the second half.”

Atkins finished the game with 22 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a career-high six steals. Holmes finished with season-highs of 23 minutes, 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.

The Longhorns (14-2, 5-1 Big 12) will play host to No. 1 UConn (15-0, 5-0 American) on Monday at 6 p.m. Atkins knows it will take similar performances from her team to pull out the win.

“They’re a very good basketball team, we’re a good basketball team,” Atkins said. “These are the games that you want to come to Texas to play. But, when the ball tips, it’s time to play basketball.”