Women’s basketball wins exhibition match

Jeremy Thomas

Texas women’s basketball played its first competitive minutes of the season in an exhibition match Sunday, defeating the reigning NAIA champion Oklahoma City University Stars, 102-56.

Texas shot 54 percent from the field and never faced a deficit in the game. Head coach Karen Aston said she liked what she saw from the team.

“This is a game that you look to see what kind of effort you’ll bring and where are you at from conditioning,” Aston said. “I thought everyone gave a good effort. We’re in a good place, and we will take this and get better.”

Aston cited the defense as an area needing improvement. Texas struggled to remain disciplined on both sides of the court, finishing with 17 turnovers and 23 fouls.

“We weren’t on the same page,” Aston said. “I think we’ll be fun to watch and be a really good defensive team once we get some things ironed out.”

Freshman guard Ariel Atkins debuted as a starter and led the team with 18 points and three steals. Despite being nervous throughout the game, Atkins said she looks to improve in practice.

“Now that I know what it’s like out here, practice will be more realistic for me,” Atkins said. “In practice, you try to simulate game-like [situations], but you can’t because it’s not the game. But now, from the experience, I kind of feel it now. I won’t get as nervous when the lights come on.”

Freshman guard Brooke McCarty led the team with 24 minutes of play and three 3-pointers. Junior guard Empress Davenport tied for the team lead with five assists.

The Longhorns are still without junior center Imani McGee-Stafford and freshman forward Diani Akigbogun because of injuries. Sophomore center Kelsey Lang started the game at center and snatched 10 rebounds on her way to a double-double with 13 points. 

“With Imani out, [senior forward] Nneka [Enemkpali] obviously can rebound, but she can’t do it by herself, so I really focused on that in the offseason,” Lang said. “I just try to go pursue every ball I can.”

The Longhorns’ regular season tip-off will be against UTSA at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.