Kelsey Lang flipped a simple layup into the basket Saturday in Texas’ 63-58 victory over Kansas State. While that bucket counted for just two points toward her 10-point total, it counted for much more to her personally.
With the routine play, the senior center became the 41st Longhorn in school history to score 1,000 career points. Ordinary play, remarkable accomplishment.
“It means a lot,” Lang said. “There are only a handful of people who have done it here, so I think that it’s fantastic.”
On top of the 1,000-point milestone, Lang has also cemented herself as one of the top shot blockers in Texas history. Lang has swatted away 163 shots in her career, good for seventh place on Texas’ all-time career blocks list.
“You always want to congratulate a player when they reach a milestone,” head coach Karen Aston said. “Just really proud of Kelsey’s career.”
The 6-foot-5-inch center has beared much of Texas’ inside duties this season, sharing the paint with freshman forward Joyner Holmes. Lang is threading together a dual-threat season, leading the Longhorns in rebounds with 8.4 per game and double-doubles with seven. Lang’s on-court leadership and tenacity to score have excelled her in her final season in Austin.
“A lot of it is her experience and understanding of the game,” Aston said. “She may not know it, but down the stretch here she has seemed a little bit like a point guard to me. I mean, there have been times that she’s thinking the game like that. She’ll ask questions in the huddle, she’ll talk to the players as if she was one of the leaders, which she is.”
Highs and lows mark Lang’s career on the court. With her days on the 40 Acres dwindling down and the success of her team trending upward, Lang continues to embrace her role as one of the leaders on a Longhorns squad that rides a 17-game winning streak and controls the reigns of the Big 12.
“You’d like to say you play as hard as you can freshman through senior year,” Lang said. “But as a senior, you just realize that you only have a few months left. I think that me and (Brianna Taylor) definitely realize that and we just wanna do everything we can for this team because it’s a special team.”
Holmes, who has quickly developed into a dominant player on a young Texas roster, credits her drive and aggressiveness to the team’s willingness to play for one another. Holmes’ career is just beginning, but she plays for teammates such as Lang whose days on the court are numbered.
“We’ve been talking to the seniors lately and I just don’t want them to have a bad year,” Holmes said. “Recently, I’ve been starting to think about that because I figured if I put myself in their shoes, I wouldn’t want to go out on a bad note. We just need to continue to stay as a team and not let anything come between us.”