Strong second half propels women’s squad over CU

Sameer Bhuchar

At halftime, Texas women’s basketball coach Gail Goestenkors was not pleased with her team, clinging to a one-point lead in a dog fight of a first half. Her squad was being out-rebounded, outshot and out-worked.

Trying to hide her dissatisfaction in the locker room, Goestenkors preached the necessity for one thing — persistence.

“I was very frustrated with our rebounding,” she said. “I told them … ‘You have got to bring it every day. You can’t just decide you’re going to rebound one day. It has got to be on a consistent basis.’ I talked about the fact [that] they we were walking around on offense. We needed to pass and cut; we needed some more movement.”

The Longhorns emerged from the tunnel at halftime with a renewed sense of aggression and support and high-fives from Texas’ 1986 national championship-winning squad, which was in attendance to watch the contest. Texas responded with an 11-0 run to start the period.

“I was very pleased with how we came out in the second half,” Goestenkors said. “We set the tone with our defense and attacked much more on the offensive side as well.”

Part of that defensive effort came in the form of the Texas players’ sticky hands that swiped seven steals.

Conversely, Texas did a much better job protecting the ball from Colorado, especially in the second half. Texas averages about 16 turnovers a game but only committed 11 on Sunday.

“Protecting the ball was key for us,” Goestenkors said. “It helped us execute down the stretch.”

The Buffaloes shot well in the first half, but Texas’ second-half defense kept them in check. Colorado finished with 50 points, the lowest total of any Big 12 opponent for Texas this season.

“Offensively, we came out flat … especially after halftime,” said Colorado head coach Linda Lappe. “We had some shots that we just couldn’t knock down, and we let that affect us for the rest of the half.”

Texas had a stellar second half, with its offense led by the hot hands of Chassidy Fussell, who led the team in scoring for the ninth time this year.

“When we are all working together, I don’t think we can be stopped,” Fussell said.

Senior Kristen Nash was also a huge part of that second-half surge dictated by determination and grit. Nash snagged a career-high 10 rebounds and made a career-high three blocks.

“Kristen’s contribution has been really immeasurable,” Goestenkors said. “It is not just her stats — which are impressive. I think it’s her toughness.”

In the second half, the Buffaloes just weren’t able to run with the herd.

“They were just so aggressive in the second half,” said Buffalo forward Brittany Spears. “We didn’t come out and match
their intensity.”