Texas rolls over Canisius to improve to 9-0

Jasmine C. Johnson

No. 5 Texas had few issues earning its 990th win in school history with a 92-62 victory over Canisius — but it didn’t start that way.

At the 7:18 mark in the first quarter with Texas (9-0) up 4-2 over Canisius (6-3), head coach Karen Aston subbed out all her starters.

“I just didn’t think our attention to detail was very good from the start of the game,” Aston said. “Also I will say, that the five that went in the game had a couple of good practices after the Stanford game and earned some playing time. “

Ten seconds later, freshman Lashann Higgs found center Kelsey Lang for a layup. A minute later, sophomore Tasia Foman hit a three-pointer in the left corner.

Despite the slow start, Texas closed out the first quarter on a 7-0 run and opened the second with six unanswered points. After a couple of threes from senior Celina Rodrigo and sophomore Brooke McCarty, Texas led 47-30 at halftime.

Texas continued its hot shooting in the second half, forcing Canisius head coach Terry Zeh to switch defensive schemes. They started in a zone, hoping to contain senior Imani Boyette and force Texas to make shots, but eventually went to man-to-man.

“Our hope was that they didn’t make threes tonight,” Zeh said.

That wasn’t the case. Texas shot 8-of-17 from beyond the arc and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half.

“I just felt like if we were going to try and make a dent in it, the way they were making threes against it, we had to do something different,” Zeh said. “We hovered around that 14-17 mark too long; we couldn’t get it down to 10,11,12.”

Boyette, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, said good outside shooting opens up things inside.

“Last year, they didn’t believe our guards could get a shot, so they would just sag in on me,” Boyette said. “But now they have to figure out what do they want to do, what do they want to give up.”

In addition to shooting well beyond the arc, Texas outscored Canisius 44-22 in the paint. With Canisius’ tallest player being 6-foot-1, Texas fed the ball to 6-foot-7 Boyette and 6-foot-5 Lang often. But even with the height advantage, Aston said they have to work on lobbing passes and how to receive lobbed passes.

“We just have to clean it up because possessions will become extremely important really quickly,” Aston said.

Texas’ bench outscored Canisius 44-23, including 14 points from Higgs and 10 points from Lang. Sophomore Brooke McCarty also finished in double digits with 14 points and 5 assists.

Texas heads to Oklahoma City on Dec. 30, where they will face Arkansas (3-7) at 1:30 p.m. in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.