It’s been more than two weeks since the Longhorns won a game and, with only seven regular season contests left on the schedule, wins are at a premium. Texas’ last victory came on Jan. 25 against the Big 12’s last place Missouri Tigers. Since then the Longhorns have dropped four straight and are falling further and further from the NCAA tournament picture. They will get another chance to prove they’re still worthy when they take on Oklahoma State, who also find themselves on the tournament bubble, Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Cowgirls got the best of the Longhorns, who were a top 25 team at the time, when the two teams met in Stillwater in early January. Oklahoma State, who at the time had the best field goal percentage defense in the nation, held Texas to a season worst 23 percent from the field en route to a 70-51 blowout victory. Chassidy Fussell missed all 11 of her field goal attempts as OSU held the Longhorns’ high-scoring guard trio of Fussell, Ashleigh Fontenette and Yvonne Anderson to just 18 points.
On the offensive end, the Cowgirls spread the scoring around, with four players scoring in double digits. Oklahoma State’s diverse scoring attack wasn’t just limited to its starters. Junior forwards Toni Young and Lindsey Keller had 14 and 13 points, respectively, coming off the bench.
“We don’t have enough guards, so if our guards aren’t hitting we don’t have a lot of options,” said Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors after the first meeting between these two squads. “We only have four on the team, so they need to come to play everyday for us to be successful.”
Depth will likely be an issue once again for the Longhorns on Saturday night. With Chelsea Bass out of the lineup for three of Texas’ last four games, Texas’ starting backcourt has been forced to log big minutes. Fussell, Fontenette and Anderson have played no less than 32 minutes in each game throughout the Longhorns current four-game slide.
“We’ve had a short bench the last couple of games,” said Goestenkors after Wednesday’s loss at Kansas. “So I think we do get a little bit fatigued and we showed that.”
If Texas is going to be successful against Oklahoma State, they’re going to have to be particularly selective with their shots and convert when they have the opportunity. The Cowgirls don’t give up easy baskets and if the Longhorns can’t find a way to create open shots and convert on those opportunities, it’s going to be a long night. Texas is shooting just 40 percent from the field over the course of its four-game skid. No matter the score, we can expect a hard-fought battle from start to finish between two teams desperate for an important conference win at the Erwin Center Saturday.