Texas pushing forward after milestone achievement

Tyler Horka

It’s not often that a team has to find a way to refocus its efforts after earning the 1,000th victory in school history.

Only four other teams have ever had to do it. Texas is now the fifth after a victory over Kansas on Wednesday.

Head coach Karen Aston said that the anticipation leading up to the milestone was not a distraction for her team.

After the game, however, confetti poured over the team as women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky addressed the crowd. The screens at the Frank Erwin Center played a video to commemorate the achievement.  

It’s a milestone that can be celebrated, but something Aston said shouldn’t distract the Longhorns.

“When we have seemed to accomplish something if it is part of what we are trying to do, we will check it off and look toward the next one,” Aston said. “So I think this is something we can check off, but I don’t think they have been distracted.”

Aston said that winning the 1,000th game in program history did not surface as a goal until after the season started. What the Longhorns have been eying since the beginning of the season is a conference title.

No. 6 Texas (19-1, 8-1 Big 12) sits tied at the top with Baylor in the Big 12 standings. The Longhorns’ only loss of the season was against the Bears on Jan. 17.

Texas followed that up by squeaking out a seven-point win at TCU and then picked up home victories over No. 19 Oklahoma and Kansas. Instead of dropping more games, and dropping out of the championship chase, the Longhorns have won three straight games.

That, Aston said, is the key to keeping the team’s Big 12 title hopes alive.

“It’s happened to us before where one disappointing loss can turn into two or three,” Aston said. “And [then] you find yourself in the middle of the pack and not having an opportunity to win a championship.”

Senior guard Celina Rodrigo said that it was great to be a part of a moment that means so much for Texas basketball. But she knows this isn’t what her team has been working for this season.

“We definitely have a special team this year,” Rodrigo said. “I think we’re just going to build on it from here. It was a great milestone, but we’re looking forward to getting even more wins.”

Rodrigo and fellow seniors are halfway through the final regular season in conference play of their careers. When they travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on Kansas State on Saturday, it will be the last time the seniors play them on the road.

“It makes us think we have to play every game like it’s our last because it’s coming to an end,” Rodrigo said. “We don’t want to have any regrets in the long run.”