Unexpected first round exit raises questions about future

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Senior guard Brittainey Raven cries after fouling out in the Longhorns’ first round loss to San Diego State on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Maxx Scholten | Daily Texan Staff

Three years into her tenure at Texas, Gail Goestenkors has made $3 million. But has she really earned it?

The Longhorns have not gotten past the second round of the NCAA Tournament since Goestenkors has arrived and have not advanced to the second round in the past two years.

Most recently, the Longhorns’ disappointment came in a Sunday night loss to 11th-seeded San Diego State in a rare first-round upset.

But this was not just any first-round loss.

The Longhorns were unable to take advantage of playing in front of their fans on their home court.

No excuses.

It does not matter that the Aztecs’ superstar decided not to miss a three-pointer. They should know that San Diego State has a shooter.

The Aztecs sure were aware of the Longhorns’ shooters. Texas’ top scorers, Brittainey Raven and Kathleen Nash, were held to a combined nine points.

Erika Arriaran was having trouble creating shots for herself, going zero for four from behind the arc.

The Aztecs, like many other teams, had the Longhorns’ number. They knew what to expect and left Texas second-guessing.

So, now it is turning into a case of the early-2000’s Mack Brown era.

Gail Goestenkors cannot win the big game.

She inherited All-Americans on her squad and brought in more, yet she has never beaten Texas A&M, going 0-7 and losing all games by double figures. She is 2-4 against Oklahoma. And, she hasn’t come close to a Big 12 title.

Goestenkors is a winner. Or, at least, was a winner.

Prior to joining the Longhorns, she coached at Duke, where she won at least 30 games for seven straight seasons. She made four Final Fours and two championships. That’s not to mention her two Olympic gold medals.

She came to Texas expecting to win — not just 22 games a year and a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament. She was supposed to win Big 12 Championships and advance deep into March.

Now it doesn’t seem like she has the same expectations.

“You know, in the Big 12, you look at the things we did, and over the course of the season, I feel like this team did turn a corner,” Goestenkors said after Sunday’s loss.

What corners have they turned? They have fell short of where they thought they should be each year. And you can’t keep on bringing out the awesomeness of the Big 12.

We all know that the Big 12 is great. Texas A&M, Baylor, Iowa State, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all avoided first-round upsets. But in Austin, no one cares about them.

So how much longer should we wait for Goestenkors to start winning? As the Raven era comes to a close, what can we expect from the Longhorns in the future?

A solid core returns next year in Ashleigh Fontenette and Nash, who had an exceptional season at guard. At post, Cokie Reed, whose offense started to come along in the final month of the season, and Ashley Gayle and her four blocks per game return next year.

But, the Longhorns need someone to step up and take over the role of dominant player. Texas needs a player who can take over a game.

They have not had a superstar who, day in and day out, will score 20 points per game.

Preparations for next season will begin soon, and the Longhorns will have four new additions to the 40 Acres, including Tiffany Moore, the nation’s fifth-best guard, according to ESPN.

The question is, how much longer can Texas Athletics go with accepting a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team that makes first-round exits in the NCAA Tournament?

Tick tock goes the clock.