UConn

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

The No. 9 Longhorns took No. 1 UConn down to the wire on Monday night at the Frank Erwin Center, but Texas couldn't pull off the upset, falling 75-71 to the Huskies. Here are five takeaways from Monday's showdown:

Texas came to play

Effort wasn’t the issue for the Longhorns.

Texas gave the 11,900 fans at the Frank Erwin Center something to cheer for right out of the gate, putting the No. 1 Huskies on notice with a quick 8-2 run to start the game.

The Longhorns made their living from behind the arc, spraying home four of their first eight attempts from three. Senior guard Brooke McCarty led the charge, setting the tone with a pair of early threes that sent the burnt orange faithful into a frenzy.

“I just trusted what the coaches had been telling me,” McCarty said. “It’s gotta go in sometime, so I trusted it.”

Texas also won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Huskies 12-7 and claiming an 8-3 advantage in second-chance points.

The Longhorns entered the second quarter with a 24-21 lead over the top team in the nation, becoming the first team to outscore UConn in the opening quarter all season.

UConn feasts off Texas’ turnovers in the second quarter

After committing just one turnover in the first quarter, the Longhorns lost focus, turning the ball over five times in the second.

Four different Texas players turned the ball over, giving life to a UConn squad that had been trailing since it took a 2-0 lead with 9:37 left in the first quarter.

The Huskies took advantage of the mistakes, converting them into six easy points and stringing together a 10-1 run to take a 39-38 lead at the half.

Texas’ 3-point woes prove costly in the third quarter

UConn hit its stride in the third quarter, clamping down on a Texas offense that wreaked havoc in the first half.

The Huskies focused on the leader of the Longhorn attack, senior guard Ariel Atkins, who had torched UConn with a couple threes in the first two quarters.

Atkins couldn’t get it going from deep in the third, going 0-3 as the Huskies began to build some separation. The Duncanville native didn’t receive any help either as the Longhorns shot a collective 0-5 from long distance.

“There were some segments where we took some ill-advised shots,” head coach Karen Aston said. “We’ll look back on (those shots) and wish we would’ve valued that possession a little bit more.”

Meanwhile, the Huskies put up 22 points in the third quarter, inflating their lead to 61-55 as the two teams entered the fourth quarter.

UConn wins at the free throw line

In a game that could’ve been decided by a coin flip, free throws proved to be the saving grace for the Huskies.

UConn shot 17-19 from the charity stripe on the night, including a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Crystal Dangerfield that iced the game with eight seconds left.

The Longhorns had their chances to pull off the upset down the stretch, but the team couldn’t capitalize at the free throw line. Texas shot 1-4 from the line, including a pair of misses by Atkins that would’ve cut the lead to one with 2:42 left in the game.

Texas shot just 8-14 from the charity stripe on the night.

Longhorns make statement in nail-biting loss

The loss marks the Longhorns’ second loss in the past three games, but Texas can hold its head high knowing it created something to build on as the second half of the season unfolds.

The Longhorns won the turnover battle, forcing UConn to 13 turnovers compared to their nine. Texas also utilized its size advantage, out-rebounding the Huskies 36-30 and cashing in on 16 second-chance points.

The four-point nail-biter also marks UConn’s closest game of the season, exposing holes in the armor of the nation’s prized juggernaut.

“Tonight showed who we are and who we can be,” McCarty said. “Every time you lose, it stings you a little bit, but this was a good growing point.”

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

In front of a crowd of over 11,000, the Huskies got hit in the mouth.

Early in the first quarter of No. 9 Texas’ 75-71 loss to No. 1 UConn on Monday night, junior wing Katie Lou Samuelson got smacked in the face with an elbow. The Huskies’ leading scorer buried her face in her hands and gingerly walked to the other side of the court at Frank Erwin Center.

The Longhorns were up 12-7 with 5:57 remaining. With Samuelson off the floor, Texas began to stifle the UConn offense and dropped bombs from distance. A midrange jumper from sophomore guard Alecia Sutton capped off a 10-5 run.

“I definitely thought we would show up because our preparation was good,” head coach Karen Aston said. “I thought they looked like a team that wanted to play differently than maybe they have been playing for a week or so.”

But UConn and Samuelson recovered. Samuelson returned to the floor at the 2:37 mark and closed out the quarter by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater over junior guard Lashann Higgs that shrunk the Longhorns’ lead to 24-21.

The deep ball stopped falling for Texas in the second quarter. After hitting 4-of-8 treys in the first, the Longhorns didn’t drain another triple until the fourth quarter. UConn rode the moment. The Huskies took the lead a handful of possessions later and clung to a 39-38 lead heading into halftime.

Once the outside shot was no longer an option, Texas shifted its point of attack to the paint.

“They were having so much success just putting it on the floor and going to the basket,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “I think they said, ‘We can get three the old-fashioned way.’ You know, get a layup and get fouled.”

On the team’s first possession of the third quarter, Higgs drove down the right baseline, drew a double team and found junior center Jatarie White at the elbow for an open jump shot.

White scored another six points in the quarter on post moves and putbacks that kept the Longhorns in the game.

The lead changed seven times in the third quarter, but Texas trailed 61-55 heading into the fourth.

Higgs ended the Longhorns’ cold streak from deep off an assist from senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau, cutting the lead in half. The Huskies missed their next shot, and senior guard Brooke McCarty scooped in a layup with just a second left on the shot clock to bring Texas within one.

UConn was called for an offensive foul at the other end. Then Higgs attacked the right block again, this time coming off a screen from senior guard Ariel Atkins. The Longhorns were finally leading, 62-61, with just 7:59 left in the game.

But they couldn’t hold it. UConn senior guard Gabby Williams hit a jumper on the next play, and Texas trailed the rest of the game.

Down 73-70 with 24.7 seconds remaining, the Longhorns fouled three consecutive times to push the Huskies into the bonus and send Samuelson to the free throw line. UConn had been a perfect 15-of-15 from the stripe all night. But Samuelson missed the first, and then the second.

Texas called timeout and Caron-Goudreau was fouled on the next play, giving the Longhorns an opportunity to cut the lead to one. She missed the first, but made the second. Texas immediately fouled UConn sophomore guard Crystal Dangerfield, who hit both of her free throws.

A last-ditch three from Sutton fell short as time expired. The Huskies had claimed victory.

White finished the game with 18 points and six rebounds. Atkins, Higgs and McCarty combined for 41 points. Though they didn’t come away with the win, the Longhorns were still pleased with the progress they showed.

“We proved that we don’t need to take days off,” White said. “I think that as a team, we know where we are right now and where we could be. And everyday in practice, we need to have that same energy.”

Texas (14–3, 5–1 Big 12) will travel to Lubbock on Saturday to take on Texas Tech.