Texas women drop Big 12 semifinal to West Virginia, look to NCAA selection

Rachel Wenzlaff

Texas had high hopes for the 2014 Big 12 Conference Championship after turning around a 2012-2013 season, from when they finished second to last in the conference to stealing the No. 3 seed in this year’s tournament. Head coach Karen Aston said hitting the 20-win mark this season symbolized the team’s growth. 

Despite all that, Texas fell 60-67 to West Virginia on March 9 in the Big 12 Championship semifinals. The Mountaineers came three points short of a conference title the next night against No. 1 Baylor, which earned its fourth consecutive Big 12 championship.

Though Texas did not finish a Big 12 title contender, its run isn’t over. Aston and the Longhorns are still hopeful for the NCAA tournament. Charlie Creme, who writes about the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament for ESPN, predicted Texas as a No. 5 seed.

“Twenty wins is usually a benchmark for going to the NCAA tournament,” Aston said. “I felt like we were in [the tournament] after the TCU game, but I think this would solidify that probably, and the fact that we’re now finishing third in the league — sole possession of third; it was one of our goals. We have a lot of goals that we have accomplished, so it means that we’re moving forward.”

Sophomore guard Celina Rodrigo thinks the team’s bench contributes to its success.

“We have a lot of depth and on any given night; any player could step up,” sophomore guard Celina Rodrigo said after Texas fell to the Mountaineers. “We were able to come back and almost get the lead.”

The NCAA Selection Show begins 6 p.m. Monday.