We've all heard it before: too many turnovers and poor defensive play lead to another Longhorn loss.
That was the case once again Saturday afternoon as Texas (13-9, 3-7 Big 12) turned the ball over 23 times and gave up 44 second-half points en route to a 71-56 loss to the Iowa State Cyclones (13-8, 4-6 Big 12) in Ames, Iowa.
“The biggest issue we had tonight was turnovers,” said Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors. “We played hard but we just didn't play smart. They were in a zone, so it's not like they were pressuring us, and we still had 23 turnovers, which is just unacceptable.”
The Longhorns have now lost three in a row and have turned the ball over a total of 57 times over the course of the three game skid.
Texas led by as many as seven early in the second half, but were unable to contain the Cyclones down the stretch.
Led by junior forward Chelsea Poppens, who scored 18 of her career high 27 points in the last 12 minutes of the game, Iowa State went on a 31–16 run to close out the second half and seal the victory.
“We were able to build up some momentum in the second half,” Poppens said. “With some of us having sat out most of the first half we had a lot of energy to go out there and get after the ball.”
With usual starters Cokie Reed and Ashley Gayle out of the starting lineup for the Longhorns, Iowa State's forwards were able to overcome some early foul trouble and take advantage of Texas' inexperienced front-court.
Poppens had 10 rebounds to go along with her 27 points in just 24 minutes while sophomore forward Hallie Christofferson added 17 points, 15 of which came from behind the arc. Junior center Anna Prins added 11 points for the Cyclones.
“Poppens is a great player,” Goestenkors said. “But they have a great team. They don't rely on just one person, they've got a lot of weapons.”
Defensively Iowa State held Chassidy Fussell, the Longhorns' leading scorer, to a season-low three points on just one-of-eight shooting from the field.
“We've been relying on her so much,” Goestenkors said. “She's not going to be on every night. She had some open looks she normally knocks down, but it was good defense as well. I give Iowa State a lot of credit.”
The Cyclones used a box-and-one defense to limit Fussell's ability to get open looks and forced her to feed her teammates.
“They played a little chaser on her,” Goestenkors said. “They switched it up a little bit and made sure there was always somebody on her.”
At 3-7 in conference play, Texas now sits second from the bottom of the Big 12 standings, ahead of only the Missouri Tigers. If the Longhorn's don't turn it around soon they may be on the outside looking in at this year's NCAA tournament.