On the same day she was announced to the preseason watch list for the Naismith Trophy, Lashann Higgs showed up in Denton ready to prove she was indeed something to watch this season.
The senior guard scored 20 of Texas’ 64 points in Monday’s win over North Texas. Her performance granted her the 44th spot in the 1,000 point club for Texas basketball, reaching the milestone on a mid-range jump shot with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
She struggled early from the field, missing her first four shots. It didn’t look like the night was going her way, but Higgs was able to turn her fortune around and connect on nine of her next 14 shots. For Higgs, all her points were needed as Texas found themselves in a defensive battle.
“She’s a great defensive-minded coach,” said head coach Karen Aston when asked about former Texas assistant Jalie Mitchell going into Monday’s matchup. “She’ll have them jacked up and ready to go.”
North Texas was ready to go and made Texas work for every point. Despite having three players in double figures, Texas struggled from the field. They were unable to find the range all night as they didn’t make a shot from beyond the three-point line and shot 40 percent from the field overall.
The Longhorns overcame the poor shooting night by out-rebounding North Texas by 30. Jada Underwood and Jatarie White were both major contributors on the defensive side of the ball. Both Underwood and White started and brought down double-digit rebounds. Along with the rebounds, they both had over 10 points, making them the only two players to have a double-double on the night.
While the Longhorns had a tough time shooting the ball, their defense— which has been a point of emphasis so far for Aston — was able to pick them up and carry them throughout the game. While Texas shot 40 percent, it held North Texas to 31 percent from the field.
“We were a little disjointed,” head coach Karen Aston said after the game. “I think that this was a good learning experience because things didn’t quite go our way.”
Aston was referring to the early part of the game where not only starting point guard Sug Sutton, but also backup point guard Destiny Littleton were charged with two fouls in the first quarter. With both point guards in foul trouble, the team defense was forced to step up and take on the responsibility of keeping the game in their control.
The defense in the first quarter proved to be enough to hold for the rest of the game. The Longhorns held the Mean Green to 11 points in the first, ending the period with a 12-point lead. However, from that point on, every quarter was decided by two points or less, and the Longhorns were even outscored by three for the remainder of the game.
The Longhorns were able to walk away from Denton with a win, but they still have concerns on the offensive side of the ball. Graduate transfer Danni Williams is shooting 2-for-19 in the early part of the year. Many of their issues are things that come with time, but anyone around Texas would tell you she’d rather see it get fixed sooner rather
Texas will try to get its offense going Thursday when they face McNeese State at the Frank Erwin Center.