North Texas may need to pull some fancy dance moves in this year's Texas Two-Step - a game where fans are encouraged to attend in cowboy hats, boots, and jeans- if it hopes to knock off a Longhorn team that seems to be gaining momentum. Texas boasts a 4-1 home record, with its only loss coming against a top-5 team in Stanford in the season opener.
"I feel like we've grown so much from this time last year," said coach Gail Goestenkors.
After a massive blowout of Arkansas Pine-Bluff earlier this week, the Longhorns (7-2) will have another chance to improve their record when they take on the Mean Green (7-4) on Friday.
Goestenkors plans to use this advantage to get more open looks for her players while establishing a low-post presence as well.
"We need our posts to be able to hit from about 15 to 17 feet just to draw people out," said Goestenkors. "Anne Marie [Hartung] is good from that area and Cokie [Reed] has done a nice job from that area as well. That's good for us and it is important for our growth."
The Mean Green roster includes just three players over 5-foot-11, but out of the three, only junior forward Jasmine Godbolt plays significantly. She's made good use of her time on the court, averaging a shade over 13 points per game as well as nearly nine rebounds per contest. She's the de-facto go-to scorer, although her numbers from the free-throw line -- 47 percent on the season-- leave a little to be desired. Texas is very adept at blocking shots so Godbolt certainly has her work cut out for her.
Texas would be wise to keep an eye on the Mean Green's second leading scorer Tamara Torru, however. Torru may has been putting up blistering numbers from beyond the three-point line this season. The senior is shooting 52 percent from behind the arc and averages 13 points and eight rebounds per game. Expect Texas to pressure Torru and really challenge her to get to the basket to earn her points.
While the Mean Green do come from a much smaller conference where the competition isn't nearly as stiff as the Big 12, they can certainly keep up with bigger schools. Despite their lack of size, one of the Mean Green's areas of expertise is rebounding- something Texas has struggled with at times this season.
"We've been working on rebounding all week in practice," said Hartung.
Sounds like a plan, now it's time to two-step.