Texas Tech presents opportunity for Texas to take huge step back


Lauren Ussery

Junior Nneka Enemkpali leads the Longhorns in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game. 

Rachel Wenzlaff

Texas’ loss against Baylor on Saturday was not unexpected, but the team did manage to learn some lessons that will serve it moving forward. 

“We just didn’t play smart basketball today,” head coach Karen Aston said. “But I think we’ll grow from this.”

Big 12 Conference play is only halfway through, and the Longhorns have more intimidating teams to face down the road, including a rematch with Baylor.

Wednesday night’s game against Texas Tech is a comfortable way for Texas to kick off the second half of the conference season. The Red Raiders’ traditionally low-scoring team shouldn’t be a problem for Texas’ high-powered defense.

The Raiders come into the Frank Erwin Center after a loss to Kansas, a team the Longhorns topped last week. Texas beat the Jayhawks on the road while Tech lost (70-62) in its own house.

The Red Raiders have had a tough season thus far. The Raiders are 0-10 in conference play and five of those games were lost by more than 20 points. But the Longhorns haven’t proven they can win games that, on the surface, appear to be easy wins. This is exemplified by Texas’ loss to TCU earlier this year, a team which the Longhorns had beaten in 33-straight games before the loss. 

Although there isn’t quite such a long-standing tradition of dominance, becoming Tech’s first conference loss of the season would not be a good look for the Longhorns.

For Texas to stay on the right-hand side of the Raiders’ record, the Longhorns will need to focus their defensive attention to Texas Tech’s Amber Battle. Battle was the only player in the double-digits in Tech’s game against Kansas. In fact, she’s the only player who averages double figures for the Red Raiders. While Battle averages an impressive 18.3 points per game, the next highest scorer, Minta Spears, averages 9.1. All other Raiders average six points or fewer.  

If Texas’ defense can force other players to shoot, Tech should not top 50 points. And, if the Longhorns can control the boards, Nneka Enemkpali should earn her fourth consecutive double-double while the Longhorns cruise to a fourth-straight win.  

Younger, less experienced players will likely get a chance to stretch their legs at Wednesday night’s game at the Frank Erwin Center.