Texas beats McNeese State in front of elementary crowd

Travis Hlavinka

As the voices of shouting children filled the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday afternoon, the Longhorns took care of business, defeating McNeese State, 100-34.

It was elementary school day at The Drum, and after a 30-3 Longhorn run to begin the contest, it became evident that the students would leave the arena with a burnt orange victory.

The youngsters created an enthusiastic environment, which provided energy for the Longhorns throughout the contest. When addressing the crowd after the game, head coach Karen Aston made it known that they had done their part in the victory.

“This group we had this year was by far the loudest we’ve ever had,” Aston said. “(They) were awesome.”

There were two players in particular who the crowd took note of, with senior guards Brooke McCarty and Ariel Atkins receiving the largest cheers of the afternoon. The latter of the two Longhorns shone on Wednesday with an efficient performance and a career milestone.

Atkins, who scored a team-high 23 points on 8-10 shooting, led the way from the first basket of the game — a three from downtown. Atkins finished 3-3 from behind the arc. Later on, she recorded her 1,000th-career point, becoming the 43rd player in program history to reach the milestone.

“Ariel is always so concerned about the team and making sure that everyone else is ready to play and that they’re playing their best game,” associate head coach Tina Thompson said. “Sometimes she gets away from herself and the things she does best. So just continuing to grow as a leader and reminding her to give back to herself.”

Other standouts in Wednesday’s blowout victory were senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau and sophomore wing Jada Underwood, who each finished with 11 points. Junior guard LaShann Higgs ended her afternoon with nine points, while junior forward Jordan Hosey tallied eight. Cleaning up the glass was freshman forward Rellah Boothe, who finished with 10 rebounds.

After the seemingly flawless game, the women decided to have a little bit of fun with the kids. Hosey, specifically, led the way with some pretty slick dance moves.

“I wish I would’ve did that when I was in elementary, but I didn’t get the chance,” Hosey said. “It’s great to get to play in front of the kids and hear them and see them dance. I see it, and it’s like a little me out there. I like it.”

The elementary school day was appreciated by the Cowgirls as well. McNeese State head coach Kacie Cryer noted the turnout for a midweek game, adding she might attempt to implement the idea at their home games.

“I think what they did was fantastic,” Cryer said. “I really actually want to bring it back to our marketing department because I think it’s something we need to do.”

Texas will take the court again on Friday when it hosts UTSA. Tipoff from the Erwin Center is slated for 7 p.m.