Holidays bring a few losses for women’s basketball — but far more wins

Rachel Wenzlaff

When students left Austin for winter break, the women’s basketball team was about to face off against its toughest opponent of the season, No. 3 Tennessee.

Although four Longhorn players posted double-digits in the game — senior Chassidy Fussell, juniors Nneka Enemkpali and Krystle Henderson and sophomore Empress Davenport — they couldn’t take down the powerful Lady Vols, and eventually fell 75-61.

Despite the loss, the Longhorns showed much improvement since last season and even since earlier this year. The development of the team proved to be a good preview for how the rest of its holiday-break games would play out.

Texas went on to handily beat Sam Houston State 109-48 at home the next week. The victory allowed the Longhorns to build confidence after their loss against Tennessee and began a three-game winning streak. Texas earned large-margin victories against Northwestern State (90-60) and Idaho (87-58). 

The win streak came to a halt in the Longhorns’ first Big 12 matchup of the season against No. 11 Oklahoma State. The Longhorns lost by six points but held Oklahoma State under its season scoring average by more than 14 points and under its season averages in field-goal percentage, three-point field-goal percentage, rebounds, assists and steals. 

Texas’ second Big 12 opponent of the season was Kansas State. Texas came away victorious, but although the game looked great on paper, head coach Karen Aston wasn’t completely satisfied.

“They had a tremendous first half from an energy perspective, and I thought we were really good on the defensive end,” Aston said. “Then we went in at halftime and maybe went to sleep a little bit. I didn’t think we were as interested in execution and energy in the second half.”

The Longhorns gave Aston just what she asked for in their next matchup against No. 22 Oklahoma — an energized and passion-filled second half.

The Longhorns trailed the Sooners by 12 at halftime but managed to cut the deficit to three with just 36 seconds to go. That’s when senior GiGi Mazionyte jumped up to sink a three-pointer to send the game into Texas’ first overtime of the season.

The Longhorns dominated, mainly from the free throw line, finishing on top, 79-74.

Texas seemed to be making overtime games a habit when its game Sunday morning against West Virginia also went into extra minutes.

The score was tied at 48-48 with 14 seconds to go. A missed layup opportunity for the Mountaineers kept the score stagnant and sent the game into overtime. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, this overtime wouldn’t play out in their favor, as they suffered their fifth loss of the season in Morgantown.

The Longhorns will play their first game of the spring semester at home against Kansas on Wednesday at 7 p.m.