The Texas Longhorns tallied their most points in a game all season, defeating the Kansas Jayhawks, 93-83. The win snapped Texas’ four-game losing streak and avenged the 38-point loss it suffered Jan. 23 in Lawrence.
“The thing that I thought they did, they didn’t get down after Sunday and realized we did some great things,” head coach Karen Aston said. “We had a great few days of practice, but I don’t know where these points came from.”
From the opening tip the Longhorns’ energy couldn’t be contained as they connected on their first 10 shots, jumping out to a 20-10 lead. Chassidy Fussell was the catalyst, hitting her first three shots before finishing the first half with 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting.
“Everybody got involved offensively, which is a terrific thing for us, because teams have been keying in on certain players and not guarding others,” Aston said. “I think that is attributed to the players getting into the gym and taking that personally. They’ve done a really good job.”
Texas (10-15, 3-11) played in sync in the first half, moving the ball with ease on its way to shooting 76 percent to Kansas’ 40.6 percent. In addition to Fussell’s strong start, Nneka Enemkpali racked up 11 points on 3-for-3 shooting to fuel the Longhorns’ 47-35 halftime lead.
“We talked about opening up the game with high energy and we really wanted to go out there and attack them before they could attack us,” Enemkpali said. “I think we did a good job.”
Three days after scoring 27 points in her team’s loss to Texas Tech, Fussell found herself in another rhythm, scoring 26 points on 10-12 shooting from the field, including 4-5 from three-point range. Despite going down from an elbow early in the second half, Fussell returned and showcased leadership on the court.
“Getting Chas back on track the last few games has really made a difference,” Aston said. “Shooters are like that. Seeing the ball when it starts going in, they think they can make anything. She was definitely in a terrific groove tonight.”
While the Longhorns revealed just how great they can be when they control the tempo and knock down their shots, their usually stout post game continued to shine, led by Imani McGee-Stafford’s 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Kansas did its best to claw its way back into the game at the end, hitting two threes in the final minute to cut the lead to 88-83 with 49.3 seconds left. But Texas’ shooters refused to let another close game slip away as McGee-Stafford put her team up by nine before Brady Sanders iced the win with less than 30 seconds to play.
“Everybody came in and did something great,” McGee-Stafford said. “It’s a team confidence builder, not just individual.”
The Longhorns posted a 64.6 field goal percentage, their highest total all year.
“They’re growing up right in front of us.” Aston said.