Longhorns head

After playing each of its first four games at the Frank Erwin Center, the Longhorns head to Kansas City, Mo., Monday for their CBE semifinal matchup against the BYU Cougars.

Despite its youth and inexperience, Texas has started the season with an impressive four game win streak, but have yet to face the challenge of playing on the road.

“Just knowing that we’re going up to Kansas City to play BYU, this is a big opportunity for us to put Texas Basketball back on the map,” freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor said. “We want to get back to where we once were, so it’s a big opportunity [for] the team, the coaching staff and the program in general.”

Perhaps the bigger challenge for the young Longhorns will be playing on consecutive days, with a tournament championship on the line. Depending on the result of tonight’s game against the Cougars, Texas will take on DePaul or Wichita State in either the championship game or third place contest Tuesday night.

“The key will be playing in back-to-back games and playing a different style,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “So it will be important to adapt quickly from one game to the next. That’s what the early season is about. You try to get exposed to as many different styles as you can.”

Thought by many to be a team in the midst of the rebuilding process, the Longhorns have looked like a Big 12 contender in each of their first four games.

With so many unproven freshmen on the roster, it appeared as though Texas was going to need to rely heavily on it’s leading returning scorer from last year’s team, but that has not been the case.

“When we started the season, I would have thought we’d have to rely on Javan Felix for a little bit more scoring,” Barnes said. “But we don’t have to rely on any one player to score. We’d like to have five or six guys in double figures.”

Texas has done just that so far this year, with at least three players scoring in double figures in each of its games, including five guys with 10 or more against Stephen F. Austin. The Longhorns have also had three different leading scorers in their four contests this year, none of which have been Felix.

“I’ve been most surprised by our versatility on offense,” said junior forward Jonathan Holmes, who leads the team with 15 points per game. “I didn’t know how many guys would actually have the ability to score, but it’s good to see it from a lot of them.”

The Longhorns head to Fort Worth today for the ITA Texas Regional Championship.  Schools from all over Texas will compete to prove who is the best of the Lone Star State.

This event gives senior Elizabeth Begley a chance to make up for her quick exit two weeks ago in Los Angeles. The Houston native failed to win a match in her first appearance of the season. 

At last year’s Texas Regional she advanced to the Round of 32 before Rice’s Natalie Beazant eliminated her in straight sets.

Junior Annat Rabinovich, another native of Houston, lost in the first round of the main draw last year but won two straight matches and advanced to the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket.

Competitive performances against teams from around Texas — including Big 12 rivals Texas Tech and Baylor — over the next five days could give an indication of what the season will look like for Texas.

“We’re going to have an incredible lineup for sure,” Rabinovich said. “I think we’re going to do really well, maybe just as good as or even better than last year.”

Catcher Taylor King scores a run for the 16-1 Longhorns. King returns to her home state of Florida, where she played her high school ball, for this weekend’s tournament. 

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

After escaping the eighth inning with a victory against No. 21 Tulsa last weekend, the Longhorns head to Kissimmee, Fla., for the Citrus Classic. 

Now ranked No. 5 in the country, the team faces No. 15 Louisville, Hofstra, No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette and Syracuse this weekend. Freshman Taylor King is excited to compete near her hometown.

“When I was around 9 years old I saw Texas play, and all I wanted to do was play here,” King said. “Hopefully, my energy in being there and our energy in being there will carry over to the field.”

Texas trumped Louisville 14-4 and Hofstra 5-0 in the last matches against each of these teams in 2011. Pitcher Blaire Luna struck out 10 batters against Hofstra, but the Pride have yet to see her two years of improvement. Against Louisville and Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas looks to improve its record against ranked opponents. The team is 161-168-1 all-time, but 36-26 since Luna and her class arrived on campus.

“These are the fun games and these are the games that you play for,” Luna said of facing more competitive opponents.

During the 16-1 campaign for Texas thus far, shortstop Taylor Thom has posed a strong offensive threat. The first Longhorn to win consecutive Big 12 Player of the Week titles, Thom earned her second after last weekend’s performance at the Texas Invitational. Her six runs and eight RBIs included a three-double game to tie an NCAA single-game record. On Feb. 16 in Houston, her single-game two grand slams tied another.

“We continue to work hard in the cages,” Thom said. “The ball looks a little like a beach ball. I’m getting good swings on good pitches and going up to the plate with a plan.”

Thom looks to continue the dominance as the Longhorns open the tournament Friday at 10 a.m.

“We’re a mentally tough team,” Thom said. “We have the confidence in ourselves and I think we can go really far.” 

Kansas center Jeff Withey (5) gets past Kansas State guard Shane Southwell to put up a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Manhattan, Kan.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Fresh off their first conference victory, the Longhorns head to Manhattan, Kansas to face the Kansas State Wildcats. Although Kansas State is ranked No. 18 in the latest Associated Press college basketball polls, the Longhorns seem to be catching them at the perfect time, as the Wildcats have lost two straight Big 12 games after winning their first four. However, K-State’s Fred Bramlage Coliseum, also known as “The Octagon of Doom,” is always a tough place for visiting teams. The Wildcats are returning to “The Octagon” for the first time since suffering their only home loss of the season, a 55-59 loss to Kansas, and will be looking to end their current losing streak and defend home court. Without a doubt, the big question in this matchup is how will this young Texas team, in search of its second straight Big 12 victory, handle the pressures of playing in a hostile environment? Here are some statistics that should paint a clear picture of what the Longhorns will be up against Wednesday night:

72: Points per game the Wildcats have scored on average in games played at home this season. This could spell trouble for the Longhorns, who are averaging just over 61 points per game in games played away from the Erwin Center. If Texas wants a chance to upset the Wildcats on their home court, it will need to hold them well below this scoring average.

64: The national rank in team rebounds per game for Kansas State, which averages just a shade under 38 a game. Texas has fared slightly better, ranking 30th in the nation with 39 per game. Although this appears to be an area of advantage for Texas, the Longhorns will be without their leading rebounder, sophomore forward Jonathan Holmes. Holmes, who is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game, is out for the next several weeks with a broken hand injury.

14.8: The number of home victories the Wildcats have averaged per year over the past five seasons, including a 71-62 win in 2010 over a Texas team ranked No. 1 at the time. Since head coach Frank Martin took over during the 2006 season, the Wildcats have won at least 15 homes games in all but two seasons.  

11: Home victories for the Wildcats this season. Kansas State has lost only one game at the Bramlage Coliseum so far this year, a four-point defeat to No. 2 Kansas. However, only one of those victories came against a ranked opponent, when the Wildcats defeated the No. 22 Oklahoma State Cowboys 73-67 earlier this month.

7: Total games Texas has played in “The Octagon” under head coach Rick Barnes. The Longhorns have performed fairly well in the coliseum’s hostile conditions, holding a respectable 3-4 record in those games. However, they have not won in Manhattan since 2008.

6: The number of road games left on the Longhorns’ schedule, including Wednesday’s game. Over the past five years, Texas has averaged just over seven victories a year away from the Erwin Center during the regular season. If they want to match that total, they will need to win the rest of their road games, starting Wednesday in “The Octagon.”

 

Nicole Dalton sets up a play for Texas. The Longhorns will face their biggest challenger for the Big 12 crown this weekend in Manhattan. The Wildcats have only dropped one match this season.(Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Fresh off another Big 12 match sweep, the No. 9 Longhorns head to Manhattan, Kansas to face No. 14 Kansas State on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Last weekend the Longhorns swept TCU at home to bring their Big 12 conference record to 5-0 and season record to 12-3. They have yet to lose a set against a Big 12 opponent and are ranked first in the Big 12 by two games over Kansas.

The Wildcats are fresh off a sweep of fellow Big 12 opponent No. 22 Iowa State at home.  They are 16-1 on the season and 3-1 in conference play. Their only conference lost came at the hands of Oklahoma who was on a five game winning streak when they swept Kansas State in Manhattan.

Last season, the Longhorns went 2-0 against the Wildcats, sweeping them 3-0 in Manhattan before taking the series 3-1 in Austin. Texas is 27-7 against Kansas State. The Longhorns are a favorite not only to win this match-up against Kansas State, but also to win the Big 12 conference.

Directly after the game against TCU midweek on Wednesday, the Longhorn’s junior outside hitter Bailey Webster admitted that they were already looking forward to going on the road to Kansas State on Saturday.

“We are excited to continue,” Webster said. “Kansas State is a really good team.”

Webster, last season’s Big 12 Player of the Year, has been on fire all season.  Against TCU, Webster recorded 12 kills and hit an impressive .647. So far this season, she has 121 kills and is hitting .290.

Junior setter Hanna Allison hit over 2,000 assists against TCU, making her only the 11th person in Texas history to do so. She recorded a double-double with 10 digs and 36 assists. Her career assist total is 2,025.

The Wildcats are led by Junior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger who has been dominating all season. Against Iowa State on Wednesday, Pelger had 16 kills with a .556 hitting line. Pelger leads Kansas State with 216 kills on the season while hitting .379.

This is the third time that head coach Jerritt Elliott has opened Big 12 play with a 5-0 record, the other two seasons came in 2004 and 2009.

Printed on Friday, October 5, 2012 as: Horns face best Big 12 team yet

Preview

After redshirting last season to improve his offensive skills, Clint Chapman has returned to the lineup for Texas. So far he and fellow senior Alexis Wangmene have been playing better than some may have expected.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

After playing overmatched opponents in their last two games, the Longhorns head to California this weekend to take on a college basketball powerhouse in UCLA.

Although, it’s not what it used to be.

The Bruins — who are eighth all-time with 1,709 wins — haven’t been their usual selves in recent years, failing to reach the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and getting out to a slow start this year with a 2-4 record. They began their season with back-to-back losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee and then, after a win, got pounced by both Kansas and Michigan.

The game Saturday will be a far cry from 2007’s thriller, in which the Longhorns knocked off UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, 63-61. Texas was ranked No. 8 at the time, UCLA No. 1. Both schools come into this game unranked. And, because of renovations to Pauley, the game will be played at Los Angeles Sports Arena — which might lessen UCLA’s home advantage.

The Bruins have talent — Travis and David Wear are twin transfers from North Carolina and Reeves Nelson averaged 14 points a game last season — but don’t have anybody who can individually match J’Covan Brown, assuming the junior guard is on his best game. Brown began the season by posting point totals of 28 and 35 in his first two matches, but has cooled off since, scoring just six points in a win over North Texas.

“I don’t really think he’s not shooting as well. I think he’s just picking his spots,” said freshman Jonathan Holmes. “It’s a long season, and I think he understands that.”

Brown’s teammates said he was in good spirits after the game, which is a good sign for Texas (4-2). Assuming Brown can’t find his shot for the third straight game, expect more and more touches for emerging post threats Holmes, Clint Chapman and Alexis Wangmene. Holmes is a skilled freshman who possesses an outside touch, Wangmene is a nice banger inside and Chapman is a finesse player who makes up for his defensive deficiencies with a nice shooting touch. Two games ago, Wangmene hit a career high with 13 points.

“I try to score when I get the chance to do so,” Wangmene said. “That’s one of the things I worked on all summer long. I had to make sure I am able to finish around the rim and make some free throws. I just wanted to add something to the team.”

Added Chapman: “Offensively, we have guys that can score.”

The weekend will be of particular importance for Chapman and Wangmene, the lone seniors on the team. Both are set to graduate this weekend but, due to the game, won’t be able to participate in their ceremonies.

Wangmene walked last spring and Chapman plans to walk this coming May.

Women's golf

After two weeks off, the Longhorns head up to Oklahoma this week to compete in the Dale McNamara Invitational hosted by Tulsa University, at the Patriot Golf Club in outer Tulsa.

The squad is looking to build on the lessons learned from their last tournament at Vanderbilt, where the team finished in 13th place, with a score of 14-over par.

Texas got strong contributions from their top four players last week, but according to head coach Martha Richards, they need more out of the fifth man spot.

This week the team will look for Arizona State transfer Larissa Eruera to step into that position in her season debut and give the team the lift it needs. In her freshman year at Arizona State, Larissa Eruera had a very respectable scoring average of 77.

The other players in this week’s lineup for the Longhorns are sophomores Haley Stephens, Madison Pressel, Katelyn Sepmoree and junior Nicole Vandermade. All of these players have made important contributions in this year’s tournaments and have consistently put in low rounds to aid the team.
Stephens had the low tournament total for the team in the year opening NCAA Fall Preview Tournament. Vandermade is the team leader in birdies with 17 through the first two tournaments. Pressel holds a team low-scoring average of 73.33 after her first three competitive rounds. Sepmoree is the teams closer of sorts, with a team low final round scoring average of 72.5.

Texas comes into the tournament ranked No. 25 in the Golfweek rankings, and will compete alongside of two other ranked Big 12 schools, Oklahoma State (18th) and Oklahoma (20th), along with the rest of the 16-team field.

Playing against these talented Big 12 rivals will give the team an excellent idea of where they stand in comparison to their elite competition and show the team how much better it needs to become so it can once again move on to the NCAA Championship Tournament in the spring. 

After two weeks off, the Longhorns head up to Oklahoma this week to compete in the Dale McNamara Invitational hosted by Tulsa University, at the Patriot Golf Club in outer Tulsa.

The squad is looking to build on the lessons learned from their last tournament at Vanderbilt, where the team finished in 13th place, with a score of 14-over par.

Texas got strong contributions from their top four players last week, but according to head coach Martha Richards, they need more out of the fifth man spot.

This week the team will look for Arizona State transfer Larissa Eruera to step into that position in her season debut and give the team the lift it needs. In her freshman year at Arizona State, Larissa Eruera had a very respectable scoring average of 77.

The other players in this week’s lineup for the Longhorns are sophomores Haley Stephens, Madison Pressel, Katelyn Sepmoree and junior Nicole Vandermade. All of these players have made important contributions in this year’s tournaments and have consistently put in low rounds to aid the team.
Stephens had the low tournament total for the team in the year opening NCAA Fall Preview Tournament. Vandermade is the team leader in birdies with 17 through the first two tournaments. Pressel holds a team low-scoring average of 73.33 after her first three competitive rounds. Sepmoree is the teams closer of sorts, with a team low final round scoring average of 72.5.

Texas comes into the tournament ranked No. 25 in the Golfweek rankings, and will compete alongside of two other ranked Big 12 schools, Oklahoma State (18th) and Oklahoma (20th), along with the rest of the 16-team field.

Playing against these talented Big 12 rivals will give the team an excellent idea of where they stand in comparison to their elite competition and show the team how much better it needs to become so it can once again move on to the NCAA Championship Tournament in the spring.