Senior utility Sha’Dare McNeal made her presence known with a career-high nine blocks, surpassing her previous record of seven blocks in 2010. McNeal also posted a season-high 13 digs and nine kills, just missing a triple-double in a performance that greatly aided the Longhorns in a victory over Oklahoma.
McNeal credited much of her success to the vibrancy of the crowd.
“Just [playing] off the fans was a big thing and coming into the match really energetic, focused, knowing what we had to do on our side of the net, and executing it,” she said.
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott highlighted McNeal’s performance as one of the strongest of the night.
“I thought Sha’Dare McNeal had a career night, not only in terms of attempts but also her blocking,” he said. “I haven’t seen her block like that in her career.”
Consistent error improvement
Texas committed a total of only 10 errors, four of which were service errors, a vast improvement from previous games. Texas committed 10 service errors against Illinois and 13 against Cincinnati during the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational tournament last weekend.
Elliott noted service errors were one particular area the Longhorns needed to polish up before heading into Big 12 play.
“We pretty much scored 45 percent of the points for the other teams,” Elliott said of that tournament’s service errors. “It is part of being young and part of understanding how to manage a game. It is key for us.”
Blocks remain strong point
Texas ranked second in the nation in blocking heading into Saturday’s game, and the Longhorns upheld their strong blocking reputation against Oklahoma. Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Khat Bell tied her season-high of five blocks, while junior outside hitter Bailey Webster had three solo blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman had one block along with McNeal’s career-high nine blocks.
“Overall, I thought we played consistent the entire night and things that we have been working on in practice carried over in terms of our blocking and sequencing,” Elliott said. “We scored high in transition and we did a nice job on the defensive side.”
Printed on Monday, September 24, 2012 as: McNEal leads Horns against Oklahoma