Freshman Fussell in starting lineup, shining with Texas

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While the women’s basketball team may be a youthful squad, recent wins have proved that confidence and youth can go hand-in-hand.

An impressive season-opening home stand has done wonders to silence any critics, as the Longhorns have been winning — not just games but also the hearts of their fans.

“[The freshmen] come in with a lot of confidence and energy,” said Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors. “The returners do a great job of helping them through because they are still really learning the system. I love the energy they are bringing and the confidence to this team.”

Chassidy Fussell, the only freshman featured on the Longhorns’ starting lineup, has continually proved that she is capable of the confidence and effort it takes to win a game.

On Monday, Fussell earned her first Big 12 Conference honor as she was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Week. In the freshman’s last two outings, she averaged 20.5 points and seven and a half rebounds. She also became the first true freshman to start her Longhorn career with three consecutive double-digit scoring efforts since 2001.

But Fussell is not alone in her efforts, as two other freshman teammates, Anne Marie Hartung and Chelsea Bass, have done their part to push the Longhorns over their opponents. Last Sunday against Boston University, Hartung posted a career-high 14 points.

“They’re doing a great job listening, it starts in practice,” said junior Ashleigh Fontenette. “But everyone is doing a great job helping everyone out.”

As a whole, the team has been extremely successful in implementing the run-and-gun game. Dominating in their transition game as well as continually working to improve mistakes made in games before has been a large goal of Goestenkors.

The fast tempo conditioning the team endured throughout the off-season has done wonders for their ability to not tire during a game.

“I would definitely say our preseason conditioning and all that training is definitely showing now. It was a really tough preseason, but you can really see it coming into play,” said junior Ashley Gayle. “We’re playing teams and running back and forth and transitioning on them. I think some teams get to a point where they just aren’t going to try and stop you, so you just keep going. It feels good when it’s in the second half and you aren’t feeling fatigue.”

The Longhorns look to continue their dominant play and winning streak Wednesday as they take on Idaho State. The Bengals (2-2) will arrive in Austin for the third of a five-game Texas road trip. They feature two players double-figure scoring led by freshman guard Lindsey Reed with 14.3 points per game and senior guard Chelsea Pickering, who averages 13.3 points per game.

The game will begin at 4 p.m on Wednesday.

“We’re hoping because it’s Thanksgiving, everyone is out of school and work, so we’re hoping they’ll come out and support us,” Goestenkors said.