Two Longhorns will hit the Frank Erwin Center court one last time this regular season as No. 6 Texas hosts Iowa State this Friday for Senior Night.
Guard Brianna Taylor and center Kelsey Lang are the lone seniors on head coach Karen Aston’s relatively young squad.
“To see the progress they’ve made not only as basketball players but as student-athletes has been really rewarding for me as a coach,” Aston said. “I can’t think of a better ride.”
The pair represents Aston’s winningest senior class since taking the helm in 2012. Taylor and Lang have achieved four consecutive 20-win seasons and 98 total victories during their time on the 40 Acres.
But there’s more work to be done.
The duo has appeared in three NCAA Tournaments and made a significant stride last season by helping Texas reach the Elite Eight for the first time since 2003. The Longhorns hope to make a deep run this postseason so Taylor and Lang can cap off their burnt orange careers on a high note.
“They come in and work hard every day,” junior guard Brooke McCarty said. “They’re kind of the glue to our team. We’re definitely going to miss them, but we’re gonna go out with a bang.”
Lang is in the midst of her finest season as a Longhorn, averaging 9.7 points and eight boards per game. She became the 41st member of Texas’ 1,000-point club on Feb. 4 in a victory over Kansas State. Lang is also a threat on the defensive end and her presence inside poses obstacles for opponents. The 6-foot-5 center sits in seventh on Texas’ all-time blocks list with 169 career rejections.
“The thing about Kelsey is she just calms us,” Aston said. “She calms us offensively, she calms us defensively, she has a presence about her.”
Taylor also provides the Longhorns with quick hands and energy on defense, recording 38 steals on the season and 126 in her career.
Taylor and Lang entered Aston’s program together as freshmen, and they’ve been progressing every step of the way.
“Somehow we ended up here, and we’ve been roommates ever since,” Taylor said. “I think we just helped each other grow up.”
After dropping two straight games to then-No. 19 Oklahoma and No. 4 Baylor, Aston stressed the importance of bouncing back and finishing the season strong. Although the Lady Bears sit alone atop the Big 12 and are well on their way to winning the conference, the Longhorns still have the opportunity to show how much they’re capable of.
“I still think we’re really playing for a lot of stuff,” Aston said. “If we hold court, we’ll go to the Big 12 Tournament and have some fun … play really hard and hopefully we’ll set ourselves up for a nice seed in the NCAA Tournament. That’s what we need to focus on right now.”
The Longhorns will honor Taylor and Lang before tipoff at 7:30 p.m, against the Cyclones.
“I’m looking forward to Friday,” Aston said. “It’s always a treat to hand them their jerseys and show them the frames and let them enjoy the moment.”