Longhorns win fourth straight match over UTSA, open season with win

Jori Epstein

With the help of UTSA shooting 2-for-30 from the three-point line in Austin on Sunday, Texas started the season on the right foot, defeating the Roadrunners 63-42. The Longhorns were led by sophomore center Imani McGee-Stafford who recorded 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks off the bench.

“Imani’s working herself back into the lineup and conditioning,” head coach Karen Aston said. “It’s a work in progress to get her back to where she finished the season last summer.”

The Longhorns started strong and never forfeited the lead, reaching a 27-4 advantage through the first seven minutes of play. They maintained a lead and finished the half up with a dominating 33-12 lead.

UTSA came out stronger and more aggressive in the second half, but it paired eight points in the first 5:24 with a slew of fouls sending Texas to the bonus just minutes later. Both teams believed size played a major role in the score differential, although it wasn’t the only factor.

“They didn’t shrink at half time, and we didn’t get bigger,” UTSA head coach Lubomyr Lichonczak said after the Roadrunners second-half run.

As 5-foot-9-inch Roadrunner Akunna Elonu guarded 6-foot-7-inch McGee-Stafford, Stafford noted the change in game play such a matchup requires.

“It’s frustrating because you have to over exaggerate the fundamentals and work harder,” McGee-Stafford said. “You should be getting better position when they’re smaller so it’s hard, but I’m still working on having the same intensity no matter who I play.”

Senior guard Chassidy Fussell scored 18 points, sinking eight straight free throws in addition to 5-for-12 shooting from the field. 

Texas resumes play Wednesday night versus Texas State at 7 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center.