In what was their last chance to prove their worth to the NCAA selection committee, the Longhorns couldn’t make it past the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championships, as they fell to a well-rested Aggie squad 77 to 50 Wednesday night.
“The body of work has been done,” said assistant coach LaKale Malone. “Do we wish we could go back and change a little? Yes, but we have fought and fought this season.”
After a convincing first-round romp over Missouri just the night before, fatigue proved to be Texas’ (19-13, 7-9 Big 12) downfall in the loss.
Defending tournament champions, Texas A&M had an answer for everything Texas tried Wednesday night. What a difference 24 hours can make, as the Longhorns looked like a completely different team against the Aggies.
For Texas, a number of factors stacked up against their desire to make it deep into the tournament. Held to their lowest point total of the season, the Longhorns committed 31 turnovers, just one away from the tournament record of 32. Five offensive calls because of charges also hurt Texas, as offensive opportunities slipped from their fingers.
“You’ve got to take care of the basketball,” Malone said. “We got outrebounded, and both need to be taken care of, not one or the other. We gave up way too many turnovers tonight.”
Normal assets were silenced early, as A&M had Texas’ number. Texas faltered in both of their regular season contests against Texas A&M. But last night’s win was by far the most convincing of the three.
Freshman Chassidy Fussell was held to a season-low three points. The last time the guard scored that low was against Iowa State in mid-February — she scored only two points.
Texas A&M shutdown Fussell early on, as she missed her first eight shots from the floor and ultimately went 0-4 from the 3-point line.
Junior Yvonne Anderson also had a lackluster night, making just two of her six shot attempts in her 26 minutes of play.
For Texas, the game began and ended on a similar note. A lack of confidence labeled Texas’ play, and the Longhorns were never able to shake it off. Feeding off their apprehension, the Aggies’ desire to win shined as they beat Texas with their defense and converted it to easy points. The Longhorns never got ahead, turning the ball over four times in the first five minutes of play and allowing for the Aggies to jump out to a 12-2 lead.
Only two players shot in the double digits for the Longhorns, with freshman Chelsea Bass leading the squad with 11 points. Kat Nash trailed right behind with 10. Texas shot a measly 16 for 50, compared to Texas A&M’s 32 of 59 shot attempts.
Danielle Adams led Texas A&M with 23 points, contributing to the Aggies’ 54-percent shooting average.
“We might be down today, but we aren’t out,” LaKale said.
With their Big 12 tournament hopes dashed, all the Longhorns can do now is wait for selection Monday and hope that their overall body of work outshines Wednesday night’s impression.