Kansas State squeaks past sloppy Longhorns

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Inconsistent guard play and their inability to establish an offensive identity in the post cost the Longhorns an opportunity to move up in the Big 12 standings at the Frank Erwin Center Wednesday night.

Texas turned the ball over 21 times and got only 10 points from its bigs as Kansas State moved to 7-2 on the road with a 64-55 victory at the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday night.

“We have to all take responsibility,” said Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors. “The posts need to do a better job of getting [in] position and demanding the ball and the guards need to recognize when our posts are open and get them the ball.”

Longhorn starters Cokie Reed and Ashley Gayle combined to score just one point and failed to record a field goal in the game.

Texas’ lack of inside scoring had a lot to do with its lack of opportunities. The Longhorns’ four interior players had a total of just 10 field goal attempts on the night and were never able to establish themselves in the paint.

“We didn’t have much of a post presence tonight,” said senior guard Ashleigh Fontenette. “But it’s as much our responsibility as it is theirs, we didn’t do a good job of getting our posts the ball.”

Fontenette had 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds in the game but failed to take care of the ball. She turned it over six times, and missed a few key free throws down the stretch.

“We just had a lot of mental breakdowns,” Goestenkors said. “Turnovers and all the missed free throws were mental breakdowns that we just can’t afford to have.”

A lack of post-production is becoming a trend on this team and if the Longhorns can’t find a way to get their forwards more involved in the offense, they will continue to struggle in a league with as much size as the Big 12.

“Most of the teams in this league are very successful in the post, so we have to make a change and figure it out,” Goestenkors said.

After trailing by nine at the half, Texas came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders and was able to build an eight point lead of their own with just under 12 minutes to go in the second half.

But the Wildcats refused to lie down. Senior forward Jalana Childs took over on the inside and imposed her will on the Longhorns’ interior defense.

“As a senior leader on this team, I have to step up when it comes to crunch time,” Childs said. “I’m glad that my coach and teammates trust me to do so. We love to win these tough games.”

Kansas State head coach Deb Patterson liked what she saw from Childs and felt her performance in the latter stages of the game was what put her team over the top.

“When we needed a couple baskets to take the pressure off our perimeter players, she stepped up,” Patterson said. “She’s a great finisher and she gave us a chance to come away from this one with a victory.”

Printed on Thursday, February 2, 2012 as: Horns plagued by turnovers once again