Sophomore provides spark in Senior Night victory

Tyler Horka

Saturday night belonged to the Texas seniors, but it was a sophomore that stole the show on Senior Night at the Frank Erwin Center.

Sophomore guard Brooke McCarty tallied 16 points and tied a career high with 8 assists to help the Longhorns beat TCU 71-58 in their final home game of the season.

The four seniors – guard Brady Sanders, guard Celina Rodrigo, guard Empress Davenport and center Imani Boyette – were all honored in a pregame ceremony.

Boyette scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds in her final regular season home game. She had high praise for 5-feet-4-inch McCarty.

“Brooke is like a lion in a mouse’s body,” Boyette said. “She does everything. She doesn’t look as feisty as she really is. She can score from anywhere on the floor.”

McCarty made four of her six 3-point attempts and added a couple of layups. She shoots a team-best 41.9 percent from beyond the arc, but credited her teammates for her success.

“I just did what the team needed me to do,” McCarty said. “I was just flowing off of everybody else and when I was open they got me the ball. It made it a lot easier.”

No. 8 Texas (26-2, 15-2 Big 12) was locked in a tight game with TCU (15-13, 7-10 Big 12) before McCarty took over.

As it did against Texas Tech on Wednesday, Texas fell behind in the first quarter. TCU nailed three 3-pointers to take an early lead, but Texas fought back to tie the game at 13 heading into the second.

The Longhorns shot just 23.5 percent from the field in the first quarter but responded by making 11-of-13 in the second. McCarty ignited the offensive turnaround.

She drilled a corner three to give Texas a four-point lead with 4:30 left in the first half. Eighteen seconds later, she converted on a fast break layup to give Texas a 26-20 lead.

The offensive outburst in the second quarter gave Texas a 36-27 halftime lead. Texas maintained a similar margin for much of the second half to finish off the Horned Frogs.   

The win gives the senior class an opportunity to accomplish something it failed to do in its previous three years at Texas. Beating No. 4 Baylor on Monday would give the Longhorns a share of the regular season Big 12 title.

Senior guard Celina Rodrigo said that beating Baylor, a team that has beaten Texas 12-straight times, is something that she wants to achieve.  

“It would mean a lot to us, especially the senior class,” Rodrigo said. “If we were able to go out and do that, we’d be extremely happy. It’s been one of our goals from the get-go”