Lady Longhorns feel the heat, look to climb out of slump

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In the midst of a four-game skid, the Longhorns have every right to be frustrated.


“I’m just extremely disappointed,” Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. “We have to start playing smarter basketball.”

For the first time ever, even dating back to the Old Southwestern Conference, Texas (11-7, 0-4) has been faced with the task of digging themselves out of an 0-4 hole in conference play.

In the second leg of their season, overtime upsets against Missouri and Oklahoma and second-half meltdowns against Baylor and most recently Texas A&M, have become a common occurrence for the Longhorns.

When Texas begins a game, the lack of confidence that often plagues a team and its players during a losing streak is nowhere to be seen. At halftime in their past four Big 12 games, Texas has led each of its opponents — except Baylor, who they trailed by a mere two points — by a count of four, three and four points, respectively.

But as the Longhorns’ season record details, each of those leads was whittled away in the second half. Whether by turnovers or lack of rebounds, the past four conference games, in which they came out strong, have resulted in staggering losses.

“I feel like it’s always in the second half where we just lose our focus and fall apart as a team,” said freshman Chassidy Fussell.

Unfortunately for Texas, extensive turnovers throughout each of their matchups continue to be a decisive factor. The Longhorns have averaged about 20 turnovers per game so far in the season, with a season-high 27 turnovers coming back in early December against Michigan State.

Texas comes in at No. 8 in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a middle-tier ratio of 0.86.

But in what could be the turning point for Texas, Saturday marks a home matchup against a similarly ailing Oklahoma State (13-4, 1-3) squad, who beat Colorado earlier this week for their first win in Big 12 play. Like the Longhorns, the Cowgirls have also lost to conference foes Baylor and Texas A&M.

Sophomore Toni Young is leading OSU with 14.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while three other players average at least 8.5 points per game.
The last time Texas lost to OSU was in 2007.

For the Longhorns, Fussell continues to provide a presence in almost every game. As of Jan. 19, Fussell’s average of 17.2 points per game is best on the team and also good enough for sixth in the entire conference.

Right behind Fussell, both senior Kathleen Nash and junior Ashleigh Fontenette have proven to be crucial playmakers for the Longhorns. Nash is ranked No. 10 in scoring in the conference with an average of 15.7 points per game, while Fontenette rounds out the top 20 at No. 18 with an average of 13.8.

Confidence is key for Texas as it tries to find a way out of its four-game losing skid.
“In every Big 12 game, you have to come out with your best game because you know the opponent is going to come out with theirs,” Nash said.