Coming off two very crucial victories at home, the Longhorns will look to win their third straight game and continue their NCAA tournament push as they take their show on the road this weekend.
Texas (15-10, 5-8 Big 12) will head to Manhattan, Kan. this Saturday to take on Kansas State (16-9, 7-6 Big 12) as it looks to split the season series with the Wildcats. Kansas State came to Austin and defeated the Longhorns 64-55 when the two met earlier this month.
“We have to keep our foot on the gas,” said head coach Gail Goestenkors. “We talked about splitting with these teams and we were able to do that against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Now we have to get another one in Manhattan.”
A failure to take care of the ball, some poor shooting and a weak inside presence caused problems for the Longhorns the first time these two teams met. Texas turned the ball over 21 times while shooting just 38.5 percent from the field and converting only 44.4 percent of its free throw attempts. The interior foursome of Ashley Gayle, Cokie Reed, Nneka Enemkpali and Anne Marie Hartung struggled to establish any sort of post presence and matched their paltry 10 total points with a costly 10 turnovers.
“The lack of an inside presence was huge,” said Goestenkors after the first meeting between these two. “We all have to take responsibility. The posts need to do a better job of posting up and demanding the ball. The guards need to do a better job getting them the ball. It’s the whole combination.”
Although better post play will be necessary for the Longhorns to be competitive on Saturday, Goestenkors knows that if Texas can play smart it’ll give itself a chance to win.
“Last time we played them [Kansas State] we had mental breakdowns,” Goestenkors said. “You can’t afford to make mistakes like that. Those turnovers and missed free throws were all mental errors. So we’re going to have to take care of the ball and give ourselves as many opportunities to score as possible. When you’re on the road you have to capitalize on those opportunities.”
With only five games left on its schedule, including tough matchups against No. 1 Baylor, No. 14 Texas A&M and Oklahoma, this weekend’s matchup with Kansas State is essentially a must-win for Texas.
“We just have to play our game,” said senior guard Ashleigh Fontenette. “We know what we have to do to win. We’ll be ready on Saturday.”
Printed on Friday, February 17, 2012 as: Texas needs to continue win streak