Texas notches first win of the season in home opener

Justin Martinez

The No. 8 Longhorns walked onto the court of the Frank Erwin Center in front of their home crowd Wednesday for the first time this season.

The team came into the matchup with Houston Baptist looking to capture some momentum after falling to No. 11 Stanford in the season opener.

Texas shot lights out from the opening tip, bursting out of the gate with a 19-3 run in the first five minutes. The run sparked a dominant 98–46 win over the Huskies, moving the Longhorns in the right direction.

“I thought our team came out with a lot of energy,” head coach Karen Aston said. “I was anxious to see not only how we’d bounce back from a loss, but from a late night. I was pleased with the fact that we were focused and ready to play today.”

The burnt orange swarmed the Huskies in the first 10 minutes, forcing six quick turnovers despite just one day of rest. And they didn’t let up, finishing the quarter with a 28-17 lead. Junior guard Brooke McCarty led the charge with eight points  on 3-4 shooting.

The second quarter yielded little change as Houston Baptist struggled to break Texas’ full-court press. The Longhorns matched their intensity on the defensive end with a barrage of buckets from behind the arc, spraying four threes to go into halftime with a 57-21 lead.

McCarty looked comfortable in Aston’s system, embracing her new role as a go-to source of offense at the shooting guard spot.

“When I’m playing [point guard], I’m trying to get my teammates the ball,” McCarty said. “But when I’m playing the two [guard], I’m looking to attack. I’m trying to blend both together in order to be successful for the team.”

The Longhorns controlled the glass in the third quarter, converting seven offensive rebounds into 11 second-chance points. Freshman forward Joyner Holmes made her presence known, racking up nine points in the quarter including a buzzer-beating layup to send Texas into the fourth with an 81-31 lead.

Texas left no doubt in the final quarter of the game, putting away Houston Baptist to earn a 98-46 victory for its first win of the season. Holmes finished with a team-high 22 points and nine rebounds in her first regular season home game as a Longhorn.

“When I was put in the starting lineup, I just knew I had to go in there and do my job,” Holmes said. “Going into it, I wasn’t nervous because I knew I had a big task on my shoulder and I had to help my team.”

The Longhorns look to carry their momentum as they hit the road to take on a defensive-minded Mississippi State squad on Nov. 20.

“The one thing you always know with that team is that they’re going to defend you,” Aston said. “They play the game very physically and our mental toughness will be questioned when we get there, so hopefully we can answer.”