Torie Schmidt

Torie Schmidt will play against her sister, Taylor, when the Longhorns host the McNeese State Cowboys Tuesday evening. The two have not played on opposing teams since high school.Torie Schmidt will play against her sister, Taylor, when the Longhorns host the McNeese State Cowboys Tuesday evening. The two have not played on opposing teams since high school.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

When Torie Schmidt’s family enters Red & Charline McCombs Field on Tuesday, they won’t be donning their usual burnt orange gear. Perhaps a hat here and a shirt there, but the relatives will boast their fair share of blue and gold, because for the first time in her 21 years, Schmidt will face her sister Taylor, a freshman outfielder for the McNeese State Cowgirls.

“We played with each other once my senior year of high school and that was a lot of fun, so it should interesting to play against each other,” Schmidt said. “She’s pretty much my best friend. She calls me a lot and I always give her advice.”

With four years of collegiate experience, Schmidt’s advice is nothing to be taken lightly. As she and No. 8 Texas now boast a 32-4 record, Schmidt is on the road to reclaiming the threat she posed last season, as she led the Big 12 with a .388 batting average that included a team-high 26 hits in league play. Though she started off slow, her .397 batting average in March showed a turn in the right direction. One stolen base against Kansas Thursday touted her improvement as well.

“I know my time is getting close to coming to an end here and I really appreciate the time I’ve had here and the time I have left,” Schmidt said. “It feels good to be getting back to where I was last season and picking it up.”

Facing the 27-9 McNeese State Cowgirls, Texas begins an 11-game home stand, including a week away from conference play. Texas is playing well, coming off a three-game sweep of Kansas.

McNeese State, a small public school in Louisiana, will be the Longhorns’ sixth game against a first-time opponent this season. Texas also owns a 30-4 record against other Southland Conference schools.

But when the first pitch is thrown, attention will be shifted to the Schmidt outfielders, as Taylor looks to challenge her older sister on her own turf. Though Taylor’s 1.000 fielding percentage tops Torie’s .944, Torie claims 33 putouts to her sister’s 14. In addition, Torie’s .317 average tops Taylor’s .259 average.

“It’s really something I’ve been looking forward to all year,” Schmidt said. “It’s a time for my family to get together and I’m really thankful the coaches were able to set it up.”

But as the family comes to see how far both girls have come, “trying to mix” up jersey alliances, as Schmidt says, they’ll be watching the senior try to reach her final goal.

“I definitely want to help our team get back to the College World Series,” Schmidt said. “It’s a goal I’ve wanted and our whole team has wanted.”

Senior Torie Schmidt slides into base during last Sunday’s game against Baylor. Schmidt scored three runs and had four stolen bases as Texas beat the Jayhawks in the first of three games.

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

In a game of records for No. 8 Texas, starting off the season 3-0 wasn’t one of them. The squad has opened with a trio of victories for four straight seasons now — but only tonight’s featured a program-high nine stolen bases. The speed helped Texas (30-4, 3-0 Big 12) shut out the Jayhawks 5-0 in the first of a three-game weekend series.

Big 12 Pitcher of the Week Blaire Luna threw the first six innings, allowing just two singles and two walks to join her nine strikeouts. Kim Bruins closed out, delivering the loss to Alicia Pille (7-4), who gave up five runs on seven hits. The Bruins also connected on a fifth-inning hit against Pille, as the Big 12 Player of the Week brought her average to .474 in the last four contests after a zero-for-nine skid.

Torie Schmidt tallied the Longhorns’ first run of the night when Hoagland walked in the second. En route to home plate, Schmidt stole her first of four bases, tying Brejae Washington’s school record. Schmidt also matched a career-high three runs against the Jayhawks.

When a groundout left Alex Jones in scoring position in the third and a fourth-inning sacrifice bunt advanced Chanin Naudin to second, Luna didn’t bat an eye. She swiftly struck out batters in both instances to preclude a scoring threat. After each save, the Longhorns retaliated with runs. Stephanie Ceo sacrifice bunted to bring home Schmidt in the third, her sixth straight hit at-bat. A groundout in the sixth lowered her four-game average to .857 with four RBIs.

“My focus is to see the ball all the way to my bat and just put it in play,” Ceo said. “That’s my game — put the ball in play and make the defense handle it.”

The Longhorns resume play in Lawrence with a doubleheader Friday beginning at 1 p.m. Its Saturday match was moved up because of a forecast of inclement weather.

Game 1: 9-4 win over ULL

Singles outdid the long ball Wednesday as the No. 10 Longhorns defeated No. 15 Louisiana-Lafayette 9-4 in the first game of the double header. Senior Blaire Luna allowed two homers, accounting for three Ragin’ Cajun runs in the first two innings. But Luna settled down soon, allowing just three hits the rest of the way on pace to her tenth win in as many starts. 

From the other side of the ball, the offense did the damage with singles and speed. Thirteen hits, 10 of which were singles and three of which were doubles, propelled the Longhorns to nine runs. Taylor Thom led the offensive effort once again with a 2-for-3 effort, as her two RBIs and three runs left her touch on more than half of the team’s scores. 

Game 2: 7-1 win over ULL

A Thom two-run, first-inning homer was all Kim Bruins needed as she allowed just one run to the Ragin’ Cajuns for a 7-1 win. The Longhorns were in control the entire game, from beginning to end. The Longhorns had already scored five runs before the Ragin’ Cajuns were able to send a ball over the center field fence for their first run. Torie Schmidt reached on a fielder’s choice in the fifth before Thom closed the game the same way she opened it — with a homer. 

Stock up: Gabby Smith 

The utility player looks like she has found a permanent spot in right field and in the lineup for head coach Connie Clark after inconsistent play to start the year. On Feb. 22 at 13 games into the season, Smith was batting .211 and looked like she would only find the field in the circle. In the nine games since, she is batting .423, bringing her season total to .333. 

Stock down: Torie Schmidt

Schmidt was second on the team with a .358 batting average last year as a junior, leading to lofty expectations in her final season in burnt orange. But she has taken a big step back. She is hitting just .250 this year after posting .345 or better the past two seasons. She also has the lowest slugging and on-base percentages of any Texas starter by a significant margin. A batting average of .250 is bad for a power hitter, but unacceptable for a contact hitter. And yet, she has still starting every game. 

By the numbers:

24: Number of consecutive games Taylor Hoagland has reached base, giving her a touch in each game this season to tie her single-season high set in 2010. 

90: Number of game Luna has won giving her sole possession of eighth place the Big 12 all-time list. 

4: Number of games in winning streak against top-20 ranked opponents, a Texas high not matched since 2007 .

5: Hits by Taylor Thom in the two games in seven at-bats, running her average to .411. She also had six runs and five RBIs for the night.

Taylor Hoagland heads for home plate after hitting a home run against the Aggies on Sunday in UT’s 4-3 win. Hoagland carried the offense with two home runs.

Photo Credit: Andreina Velazquez | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns won the series with the Aggies on Sunday.

Despite losing 9-0 Thursday night in a run-ruled game on the road in College Station, the Longhorns fought from behind and pulled off back to back wins to take their final series against the Aggies 2-1
this past weekend.

The No. 7 Longhorns beat the Aggies twice at home, 7-6 on Saturday and 4-3 on Sunday. They are now 39-8 on the season and 13-6 in Big 12 Conference play.

“We just had to come back in and forget about that loss and not take it too hard,” said junior left fielder Torie Schmidt. “The game forgets everything, so we had to come back in and let it go.”

Game one on Saturday afternoon came down to the wire. The Longhorns were down 6-1 going into the fifth inning. Four runs in the bottom of the fifth brought the game to within one, and a walk off double by Schmidt in the seventh pushed the Longhorns to the 7-6 victory.

“We were trying too hard over there Thursday night,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “We fought ... that is what it is about; having that fight.”

Schmidt highlighted the game on Saturday afternoon going 3-for-4 with three RBIs which included the walk off double.

Sophomore Rachel Fox started off both weekend games in the circle for the Longhorns and extended her win streak to 11 games. Fox, who has been taking on more responsibilities later in the season, is the only starting pitcher still undefeated on the season.

“We have to hand it to Rachel [Fox], she came in and did a great job,” Schmidt said. “She just went in there and was confident and hit her spots and that gave us confidence to go up to the plate and hit.”

Sunday afternoon started in similar fashion. The Aggies went up 1-0 in the top of the second and Texas was left to try to fight from behind for the third time in as many games.

Through the first two innings, the Longhorns were able to get runners on but were unable to plate a run. However, in the bottom of the third, Texas junior Taylor Hoagland stepped up to the plate smacked a two-run homer.

Another home run by Hoagland followed by a home run off the bat of sophomore Brejae Washington put the score at 4-1.

The Aggies tried to make a comeback by plating two runs in the top of the sixth but were unable to gain any more ground. Junior All-American Blaire Luna came in as relief for Fox in the final two innings and put the Aggies to rest with a 4-3 victory.

“I’m really glad that we went out with a bang,” Hoagland said.

Even though it was difficult, the Longhorns walked away from their toughest rivalry with bragging rights for the foreseeable future. They ended a long weekend with a 4-3 victory, a 2-1 series victory and a 20-20 rivalry record.

“You always feel emotion. To be honest, it was a great game today,” Clark said. “It was back-and-forth and close. So, there was a lot of emotion there ... there is nothing better [than] to come in and shut the door ... it was fantastic.”

Printed on Monday, April 30, 2012 as: Hoagland homers twice as Longhorns down rivals

Torie Schmidt takes a swing during UT’s series against A&M this weekend.

Photo Credit: Andreina Velazquez | Daily Texan Staff

It was a victory that will be remembered for a long time to come. Torie Schmidt gave the Longhorns the win in Saturday’s game against Texas A&M with walk-off double that knocked in two runs.

The junior out of California went three for four on Saturday. Schmidt has 42 hits on the year to go with 23 RBI and 22 runs.

After Thursday’s game against the Aggies the Longhorns weren’t in the position they wanted to be. They were shut down and were losing the series with their longtime rival, risking a point in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown.

Saturday wasn’t looking too well for Texas either as it was on the losing side of a 6-5 score until the last inning. That is where Schmidt came in.

The outfielder got up to bat with a runner in scoring position. A wild pitch put two runners into scoring position and that is when she worked her magic. Schmidt blasted a double that knocked in two runs giving her three RBI and the victory for the Longhorns.

“It was up and in, actually and I was able to keep my hands up there,” said Schmidt on the game-winning hit. “I was just going to put the bat on the ball, anything that was close.”

The deficit was tough to come back from but the team knew what they had to do.

“We had to go up there and be aggressive,” Schmidt said. “We had to limit our strikeouts looking from [Thursday’s] game so that’s what we thought about, going up there and putting the bat on the ball on anything close to the strike zone. We have to hand it to Rachel [Fox], she came in and did a great job. She just went in there and was confident and hit her spots and that gave us confidence to go up to the
plate and hit.”

With that win the Longhorns kept their chances alive for winning the series and the Lone Star showdown. It’s a good thing they did because Sunday proved even better as they won their final game against the Aggies.

Head Coach Connie Clark knew right after Thursdays game that Saturday was going to be the day the team got their spark back and would capture the victory.

“We talked about it immediately in the locker room following the game on Thursday night, that the quality of their next performance starts as soon as they get rid of the last one and we learn from it,” Clark said. “I thought like we had a tremendous practice yesterday [Friday], with the focus of it’s the game. The game is the game, get ready to go, and be ready to fight, and play with an edge on our turf because that makes a difference. I am very proud.”

Schmidt has always been a large part of the team’s success. As a sophomore last year she was ranked fifth overall on the team for batting average and was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team. As such a vital part of the team, the Longhorns will continue to see how she impacts play moving into the postseason.

Printed on Monday, April 30, 2012 as: Schmidt delivers in fianl at-bat with game-winning double

Junior Torie Schmidt finished Texas’ series against Missouri with a 7-for-10 performance. Although the Horns lost the series, Schmidt performed well.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

She’s not one of the big names on the Longhorn roster and she doesn’t normally make headlines. She’s not one of the players who holds multiple school, conference and national records, and she is not often recognized for her talents on the field. But without Torie Schmidt covering left field and her left-handed stance at the plate, the Longhorns would be at a huge disadvantage.

The junior outfielder may be overshadowed by some of her more well-known teammates such as All-American pitcher Blaire Luna, Texas career RBI record holder and leading batter Lexy Bennett, or U.S. national team member and power hitter Taylor Hoagland, but Schmidt can hold her own.

She showed her importance to the team during the seven-for-10 performance she turned in this past weekend. Despite dropping the series 2-1 to Missouri, Schmidt found a way to succeed at the plate to give the Longhorns the best chance against the Tigers.

“I went up there with an aggressive mindset,” Schmidt said of her high production at the plate. “Going up, taking hacks at the first strikes I saw.”

The impressive stats against Missouri are hardly the first that she has turned in. Currently, Schmidt is tied with sophomore Karina Scott for second on the Longhorns with an individual batting average of .403. The team’s average is .361. She currently holds a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage after ending the 2011 season as one of the two regular starters to finish perfectly in the field.

Aggression seems to be a constant in Schmidt’s style of play. Texas head coach Connie Clark has praised the way her team attacks the game, and Schmidt contributes to that force.

“We have a high percentage of kids that have great speed and great intelligence on the bases and we like to take advantage of that,” Clark said. “We know we can run on most teams, and obviously we [have] had success with that. We were going to come out and attack right away.”

In fact, Schmidt’s speed and ability to jump-start a slow performing offensive series is why coach Clark recruited her to Texas back in the fall of 2008.

“Torie brings speed and a left-handed option to our offense,” Clark said after Schmidt signed her letter of intent. “She has the ability to provide a spark with her short game, but she can also drive the ball very well.”

Another unique characteristic that Schmidt brings to the team is the fact that she is a left handed batter. Schmidt and sophomore Brejae Washington are the only returning members from the 2011 squad that can bat left handed, and the only two consistently in the Longhorn’s starting lineup. Several freshmen are listed as left-handers but they haven’t seen much action this season.

When Schmidt arrived in the fall of 2009, she was one of the first left-handed batters in recent memory to come to Texas, making the Longhorns more versatile at the plate.

However, her career at Texas didn’t blossom overnight. During her freshman year, Schmidt started just 12 games scattered throughout the 2010 season, although she came off the bench to contribute in 31 additional games. She didn’t see any consistent action until 2011, her sophomore season. Since then, she has started in all but seven games and played in all but two.

Now as a junior, Schmidt is a constant presence in the left field for the Longhorns and a formidable presence in the batter’s box.

“I’ve worked really hard for this and I’m proud of myself,” Schmidt said. “I know my family is proud of me. They get to come watch me at [the] California tournaments and tell people, ‘My daughter is the starting left-fielder at Texas.’”

Taylor Thom takes a swing in a recent game for Texas. Thom went hitless in three games against Missouri this weekend as the Tigers won the series.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas offense was limited in action in its first set of conference losses all season.

The pitching staff on Saturday for No. 11 Missouri proved to be just as daunting for the Longhorn bats this weekend as they were last season. The No. 3 Longhorns were held to a season low of four runs in two games as they lost the final two games of the three-game series against the Tigers this Easter weekend.

The losses also marked the first home defeats of the 2012 season.

“Yeah, we just have to hand it to Chelsea [Thomas],” said junior outfielder Torie Schmidt about the Missouri pitcher and the lack of a Texas offense. “She did a good job of mixing up pitches, and we just didn’t make the adjustments that we needed to make.”

On Friday, the Longhorns managed four runs, but the normally explosive Texas offense was not able to mount a late rally to counter 11 runs scored by Missouri. The Tigers won 11-4. The Longhorns pounded out 12 hits against 14 for Mizzou.

The game was tied through much of the game until three runs by Missouri put Texas down at the top of the fifth. A two-run effort in the bottom of the sixth tied the game, but seven runs by the Tigers in the seventh sealed the win.

Recently this season, Texas has been infamous for gritty game-saving comebacks, however, the seven run deficit was too much. The Longhorns made a valiant effort in the seventh, with Schmidt and sophomore catcher Mandy Ogle producing two hits with two outs. However, junior outfielder Taylor Hoagland, who is normally clutch at the plate, struck out swinging to end the game, breaking the Longhorn’s 10-game win streak.

Hoagland, along with senior second baseman Lexy Bennett and sophomore outfielder Brejae Washington, led the Texas offense Friday night with two hits each.

On Saturday, the Longhorns suffered their first shutout all season with a 2-0 loss. The last shutout was a 1-0 loss to the University of Houston in the first round of the NCAA postseason tournament last May. The Longhorns were held to only five hits.

The Missouri pitcher struck out nine Longhorn batters and issued two walks in the win. The strikeouts came at unfortunate times for Texas. The Longhorns managed to get runners on the bases twice during the shutout, but Missouri didn’t bow to the pressure. Washington was struck out three times in the loss.

“You have to tip your cap. She was a little bit different each day,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “She appeared to have a specific game plan with each of our hitters. We just couldn’t string anything together. We had a couple things here and there, but we weren’t able to string them together.”

Printed on Monday, April 9, 2012 as: Missouri pitches shutout, Texas loses two of three

Courtney Craig dashes to first base after hitting a ball down the third base line. The hit was a three-run bases-loaded double in the fifth frame that gave Texas a lead it never gave up.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

The game started out slowly for the first time all season, but the Longhorns scraped together five runs in the fifth inning to come out with the 9-5 win over the Missouri Tigers in game one of a three game series.

“I think it’s definitely what we needed,” senior right fielder Courtney Craig said of their comeback victory. “It’s something that makes us different from teams in years before. We’ve been challenged [this season] and in years before we haven’t been able to come back. This year we’ve needed to see it over and over again to get us ready for more games.”

The No. 3 Longhorns extended their winning streak to 10 games Thursday evening bringing their season record to 32-2 and 6-0 in Big 12 Conference play. After a streak of non-conference competition, the Longhorns’ only remaining opponents for the 2012 season are of conference caliber.

“You have to give it to them. They kept fighting all the way until the end,” said senior left fielder Torie Schmidt. “We’ve been pretty consistently good at not letting things get to us and shaking things off. Teams have been scoring before us and we’ve stayed calm. We don’t let it get to us.”

Junior All-American pitcher Blaire Luna spent all seven innings in the circle for the Longhorns. She gave up five runs off of seven hits, the most she’s given up all season. Luna had an impressive eight strike outs in seven innings and is now 13-1 with a 1.43 ERA.

Freshman pitcher and designated player Gabby Smith scored the first run in the fifth inning to break the scoring drought for the Longhorns. The initial run was scored off a two RBI single by Schmidt with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Schmidt went 3-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs. Craig contributed three RBIs to the win off of her 1-for-4 night.

“The pitches were just coming inside and it was jamming me up on both at-bats,” Craig said. “I went into the dugout and told myself to focus. ... I set the play up a little bit, made an adjustment, kept my hands inside and did what I needed to do for my team.”

Senior third baseman Nadia Taylor also had a successful and productive offensive night as she went 2-for-3 for the night. Taylor has been on a hot streak lately after her record setting three double performance against New Mexico last weekend.

“She has been on a streak lately and got us all a hit,” Craig said. “When one person on our team hits, the energy starts going. It’s a domino effect. Nadia really started that and the team really kept going with it.”

Game two against Missouri comes at 7 p.m. Friday evening with the conclusion coming Saturday.

Freshman righthander Rachel Fox pitches during the Longhorns’ 2-1 win Tuesday against UTSA. Fox struck out a career-high 13 batters in eight innings of work.

Photo Credit: I-Hwa Cheng | Daily Texan Staff

Extra innings are where teams show their mental toughness and mettle on the diamond; the Longhorns showed theirs prevailing in the eighth inning 2-1 over UTSA.

“Our team has so much heart, I have so much confidence in our team, our pitchers have confidence in our team that no matter what we’re going to pull it out — we just have the heart and the confidence in ourselves that we can do it,” said freshman Taylor Thom.

Texas went into the bottom of the eight tied up with UTSA, and when it needed to the offense finally woke up.

Thom started off the inning with a single straight up the middle into center field to get the rally going. Then Amy Hooks came up big with a single of her own into right field, and both runners were advanced to second and third, respectively, on a Nadia Taylor sacrifice bunt. Torie Schmidt was the next hitter for the team and, as it turned out, the last one the Longhorns needed. She hit a grounder to the second baseman who was playing deep and could not get the throw home in time; Thom was breaking for the plate on contact and scored just in time.

“We knew we would win it, we just had to string together some hits, and we did it in the last inning,” Taylor said.

Despite the win, Texas seemed to struggle throughout the game to make solid contact on all three of the UTSA pitchers, especially the starter Danyé Holmes. Holmes only gave up one run and three hits in the first five innings — the run she gave up was unearned.

“We could have made better adjustment off of Holmes, and we didn’t make quite as good as adjustments as we have in the past. She threw a good game,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark.

After Holmes left the game the team continued to struggle a little until the eighth, when they were finally able to push across the winning run. Part of this struggle at the plate can be attributed to the fact that Texas was a bit fatigued after a long trip back from Lubbock on the weekend and the quick turnaround for this game. The struggle is particularly evident when you look at the numbers at the plate: The Longhorns had 18 hits in both games against Tech, but against a weaker team on paper in UTSA they only managed six, with two of those coming in extra innings.

“These mid-week games are definitely a grind, after coming off a long weekend of traveling, and then coming back out here to play UTSA, it’s a gut check,” Thom said.

However the pitching staff, in the form of Rachel Fox, tonight continued to shine. She scattered seven hits, most of them bloopers, along with striking out a career high 13 batters. Her only run allowed in the game was a bit of a soft one two, as UTSA scored on a throwing error.

“I was disappointed by the little bloop hits they got, I’m not really used to seeing seven hits on the scoreboard, and the off-speed was working,” Fox said. “We were deceiving the batters and it was just an overall good night.”

Texas will look to carry over the momentum they gained from in this game into a tough road test in Waco against the 17th-ranked Baylor Bears.
 

The Longhorns’ line-up has been the same for much of the season, which is now in the middle of a grueling Big 12 stretch that includes three ranked opponents.

What you don’t always see are the five players on the outside of that line-up card, the same five players that could be the key to the third-ranked Longhorns’ season.

Texas has one of the smallest rosters in the country at only 15 players, but every single one is capable of stepping into the line-up and contributing like a starter or coming off the bench and pinch-hitting in a critical situation.

“We have 15 heroes, any one of them can be one at any given time,” said junior Lexy Bennett. “I think it’s just whoever called upon, and when someone’s stepping in they almost always come through.”

The depth of the team is evident at every spot on the field. It could be a backup like freshman Karina Scott coming into the line-up and playing in one of the middle infield positions when a starter is hurt or needs a rest. Or a flexible infielder like Bennett can play anywhere in the infield from her normal first base spot to second base or even shortstop.

The best example of the team’s depth is perhaps in the outfield, where junior Courtney Craig — a two-time all-Big 12 performer — is on the outside looking in at the rotation after coming back from an injury. The talented Craig has been kept sidelined by the stellar performances from all of the outfielders, especially Torie Schmidt in left field. Schmidt is hitting a blistering .396 at the plate and has a perfect fielding percentage.

“Our depth chart is huge for us right now. We have 15 players so we’re really small, but at any given time we can switch players in and out and you don’t have to worry about is she is as strong as the starter, and that’s been really nice,” said senior Amy Hooks.

The team’s depth shines shows in pressure situations, like the Texas A&M game last Wednesday. Freshman Mandy Ogle came in to pinch-run for Hooks and ended up scoring the winning run thanks to some heads-up base running on a wild pitch.

The capability of the bench also shows up in pinch-hitting situations, where senior Shelby Savony and Karina Scott often come off the bench and deliver a hit in pressure situations.

“You never know when your time’s going to be. It could be anyone 1-9 or whoever’s playing that game, and you might come off the bench and be a pinch hitter, and you could be the one to score that winning run,” Bennett said.

The depth is also apparent in the circle. Freshman Rachel Fox has shown she is able to come in behind All-American pitcher Blaire Luna when the normal starter needs rest or even relieve her out of the bullpen on a day when she is struggling. With a 14-1 record and 1.15 ERA, Fox has shown she is a solid option behind Luna, something that was sorely missing from last year’s squad.

“We have great depth in the circle,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “Although Luna is Luna and is very consistent and is one of the best in the country, Rachel Fox is having a great year for us and will continue to get the ball and she competes so well. And it’s just nice not to have to rely on one specific person.”

Texas fell in the regional round of the NCAA tournament last year; a disappointing end to a season for which expectations were high. Expectations are higher this season, with the Longhorns moving up to No. 3 in the country in the most recent coaches’ poll.

“I think that’s the difference between the ’11 club versus the ’10 club,” Clark said. “The ’10 club was talented, but this club has more depth, and we’re able to make some moves and get even better when we make those moves.”