In a game where seemingly every player on the Texas squad made respectable strides forward in their individual games, Ashleigh Fontenette’s day was particularly special.
“A-T,” as she is affectionately called by her teammates and coaches, was the driving force behind the Longhorns’ 115-53 victory. She dropped a game-high 23 points on Northwestern State for her second straight 20-plus scoring performance of the season. In addition to her scoring, she snagged eight rebounds, made six assists to just two turnovers, stole the ball four times and the 5-foot-8-inch guard even had a block.
In addition Fontenette was 2-of-4 from long range and only missed one of six free throws.
“I think [Ashleigh] is one of the best point guards in the country,” said Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors. “I think she showed that. She’s been really consistent with her play. She’s a tremendous defensive player, and she’s also got a lot of confidence offensively now.”
Goestenkors said she also saw a much smarter basketball player on the court.
“I think last year was a learning year for her at that point position,” she said. “Now she knows exactly what we need and when we need it.”
Fontenette knew she needed to force turnovers. Like a heat-seeking missile, she was relentless in her pursuit of the ball in all phases of the game.
After scoring the first bucket of the game, a 3-pointer, she immediately stayed under the Texas basket to defend the inbound pass. Fontenette was alone at first on the press but then demanded help from her teammates. Her persistence paid off because that is where most of her six steals came from.
Most of her damage came in the first half of the game when she said she was looking to get as many people involved as possible.
“I think early I just looked to attack in transition and the defense started to collapse on me and I just found the open player,” Fontenette said. “We were looking to share the ball and I think we did a great job of doing that.”
Fontenette’s calm demeanor off the court does not translate to passive play on it. She was Texas’ workhorse last night, and she knows that she needs to continue having that attitude to ensure Texas’ long-term success.
Luckily, despite individual accomplishments, Fontenette always has a team-first mentality.
“I personally love it,” the freshman guard said, referring to the team’s tempo. “As a team, we have a lot of athletic guards and our posts can run the floor, and I think it’s great for us to be able to pressure the other team and get out and run.”