Return of fifth-year senior welcome addition to team

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Kristen Nash has some unfinished business with the Longhorns.

For the fifth-year senior, being given a second chance to return to Texas has great meaning.

“I’m just doing whatever I can to help the team,” Nash said. “This time around, it’s not about the points for me. I am just here to rebound and do what Coach tells me to do.”
After commencement last May, Nash retired her basketball shoes for the books at 23 years old and never thought about rejoining the squad.

She longed for the experience of being a “regular student” and worked to remain focused on her studies.

But on Dec. 12, right as her first semester of graduate school was coming to an end, Nash watched her former team take a beating against a tough Tennessee squad.

At that time in the season, Texas’ faults were slowly being exposed, and their original game plan of running-and-gunning was not going as planned against stronger, ranked opponents.

Following the game, head coach Gail Goestenkors texted Nash offering her a spot back on the team.

Nash soon realized that her time spent on the hardwood was far from over.

“It never crossed my mind that I would be back on the team,” she said. “After coach asked me, I thought about it, and realized it felt right.”

But before giving Goestenkors her final decision, Nash knew she needed to talk to the person who knows her best — her sister Kathleen, who goes by Kat.

“We live together, so we still see each other,” Kat said. “But we were just at home, and then the text came in from Coach. I knew she was kind of missing it, and I was like, ‘We really need you, but it’s your decision. It’s a lot of work, but if you want to come back, we could use you.’”

Naturally for Kristen, making her ultimate decision to return came easily, especially after the encouragement that came from her sister.

For the 6-foot-3-inch Kristen, who had not touched a basketball since last March, returning to the run-and-gun game that primarily makes up Texas’ offensive strategy was an eye-opener.

“Coming back in December, it was definitely a huge adjustment,” she said. “I was not in basketball shape, so I was just trying to do whatever I could to help the team out.”

But Kristen has been a crucial asset in Texas’ second half of the season, as she brings an element of grit and hustle, carrying out much of the dirty work for the squad.

“She comes in and always plays her heart out. She’s been huge for us in rebounding,” Kat said. “It’s really nice to have another post to step in there because I was having to play a lot of minutes.”

So for Kristen, a vital asset to her squad’s recent winning streak, it is still all about doing whatever she can to help.

Kristen and Kat return home Sunday in hopes of continuing their winning ways against Colorado at 2 p.m.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I have a lot of unfinished business to take care of.”