During the halftime of Texas’ game against Louisiana Tech on Thursday night, former Longhorns Jody Conradt and Nell Fortner sat at midcourt reminiscing about their first game at the Frank Erwin Center.
Forty years earlier, Conradt was entering her third year as head coach while Fortner was a freshman forward making her debut, still trying to carve out minutes.
“I was mad,” Fortner said. “(Conradt) didn’t start me.”
On Nov. 29, 1977, the pair took to the floor for a matchup against Temple Junior College. Texas won the game 67-64.
It took the Longhorns less than three quarters to surpass that total against the Lady Techsters on Thursday night. Freshman forward Rellah Boothe converted on an and-one free throw to bring Texas’ score up to 67. A three from sophomore guard Alecia Sutton off an assist by senior guard Brooke McCarty put the score at 70–33 with 1:13 remaining in the third.
Ball movement was critical to the orange and white’s success in the 88-54 win. The Longhorns finished the game with 25 assists, including five from McCarty. Head coach Karen Aston enjoyed the way the starting point guard fed off her teammates.
“I think that (McCarty’s) really enjoying playing with this group of girls,” Aston said. “I also think that she needs to shoot sometimes when she doesn’t. Sometimes she’ll pass up open threes, I just don’t know that she needs to do that.”
McCarty averaged 2.5 assists per game through the past three seasons, but has kicked it up to 5.5 per game through the first six games of the year.
“When my teammates are open, I like to give them the ball, and, I mean, that’s what it’s all about,” McCarty said. “So, I do get in trouble for not shooting, but at the same time, (Aston) doesn’t mind the assists.”
Many of McCarty’s dimes came as the result of Louisiana Tech turnovers. She stole the ball four times in the first quarter and finished the game with five. After every steal, McCarty would push the ball in transition and usually find an open teammate.
The point guards willingness to share the ball has infected her teammates, smoothing out the wrinkles of the offense. Three other players finished the game with four or more dimes and the team only committed 15 turnovers.
“I think they’re really starting to get a feel for each other and some chemistry,” Aston said. “And you can see as we go along, they’re not really caring about who’s scoring the ball right now. They’re enjoying passing the ball to each other. And I think that makes for good basketball.”
Following the win, everything felt familiar. Music from the ‘70s filled the arena. Conradt looked on from the sideline. Texas had won for the 515th time inside the Drum.
The Longhorns travel next to Georgia to take on the Bulldogs in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Tip-off is slated for 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 3.