Three days after etching their name into history as just the fifth program to reach 1,000 all-time wins, the No. 6 Texas Longhorns faced an early 12-15 deficit and a variety of zone defenses on the road against Kansas State.
Texas missed its first six shots, shot just 23 percent from the field in the first quarter and watched the three-point deficit grow to seven with its leading scorer and rebounder, senior center Imani Boyette, on the bench after picking up two fouls just three minutes into the game.
By the end of the first, the Longhorns cut the deficit back to three, before outscoring Kansas State 17-6 in the second quarter and building on a 29-21 halftime lead en route to a 66-51 win Saturday night.
With Boyette and sophomore guard Ariel Atkins out early with foul trouble, Texas’ (20-1, 9-1 Big 12) bench stepped up. Junior center Kelsey Lang scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds, while sophomore guard Tasia Foman knocked down a 3-pointer late in the second to push the lead to eight.
Boyette returned in the third but never got in rhythm. She finished with just eight points and eight rebounds.
But Texas’ advantage at the free throw line made up for her absence. Texas shot 87 percent from the line, compared to Kansas State’s 65 percent.
In addition to shooting well from the free throw line, Texas shot 31 percent from the 3-point line. Sophomore guard Brooke McCarty led all scorers with 15 points, four rebounds and two steals. She shot 4-of-7 from beyond the arc —three of which came at crucial moments.
The League City native hit a 3-pointer late in the third to put Texas up 40-27, their largest lead of the game. She followed that with another three early in the fourth to push Texas’ lead to 18. Kansas State (14-6, 4-5 Big 12) pulled within 14 following a 9-4 run, but McCarty hit yet another three to seal the deal.
Texas shot just 37 percent from the field, but outrebounded the Wildcats 41-23, while recording four blocks and 17 assists.
Junior center Breanna Lewis led Kansas State with 12 points and four rebounds before fouling out.
The win moves the Longhorns back atop of the Big 12 standings.
Texas has a bit of a break before facing Iowa State (11-9, 3-6 Big 12) on February 6 on the road. Tip off is set for 1:30 p.m.