Longhorns hold block party against Lady Braves

Nick Cremona

In its most impressive showing of the young season, Texas stormed out to a 21-0 lead in the first seven minutes against an undersized Alcorn State squad.

The Longhorns never looked back and were able to dominate the Lady Braves with a final score of 74-42 to earn their second win of the year.

“I was really pleased with the way we started the game,” head coach Gail Goestenkors said. “I thought our energy, focus and our intensity was really good.”

From the opening tip, the Longhorns came out playing zone defense, and it caused the Lady Braves absolute fits in the preliminary stages of the game. Texas forced several early turnovers and made it clear this game wasn’t going to be as close as the Longhorns’ first two contests of the season.

Senior guard Yvonne Anderson got off to a quick start, knocking down two early three-pointers. She led all scorers with 19 points and also dished out eight assists.

Sophomore guard Chelsea Bass saw her first action of the season, playing 18 minutes and adding nine points. She was needed earlier in the game than she might have anticipated, as sophomore Chassidy Fussell and Anderson got into a bit of foul trouble in the first half.

The Lady Braves (0-3) never seemed to find their rhythm and were held without a basket until the 11-minute mark in the first half. The duo of senior Ashley Gayle and sophomore Cokie Reed combined for 11 blocks on the night.

No block was more impressive than Gayle’s emphatic rejection just two minutes into in the first quarter. It was her 290th career block, making her the all-time leader at Texas.

“To be able to put a mark on Texas history like that means a lot,” Gayle said. “That was a major goal of mine the last couple of years.”

Gayle and Reed essentially shut down the Lady Braves’ inside game and forced them to shoot more three-point shots in an attempt to catch up. It was to no avail — the Lady Braves shot just 25 percent from beyond the arc for the game and struggled with the size of the Longhorns.

“Ashley has been a great defender for us, and she takes a lot of pride in her defense,” Goestenkors said. “She gets into the head of some great post players, and it really affects their game.”

Texas will need more of the same from Gayle as it heads to Hawaii to face some of the nation’s top teams in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown after Thanksgiving. The Longhorns’ next opponent, Virginia, is 4-0 so far and is coming off a huge overtime upset of No. 3 Tennessee, who also happens to be in the tournament.

Printed on Monday, November 21, 2011 as: Anderson scores 19 points in victory