There’s a popular adage for repeating events: same song, different verse.
Texas walloped McNeese State last year, 100-34, and things didn’t look much different Thursday night. The Longhorns picked up where they left off, defeating the Cowgirls, 96-40.
Making her first official start in the orange and white, center Charli Collier made her presence felt early. She scored the first points of the game and immediately blocked a shot from the undersized Cowgirls on the ensuing possession, sparking a 7-0 run in the first two minutes.
An aggressive zone-trap defense by Texas and an almost out-of-control pace resulted in the teams combining for 11 turnovers in the first quarter. But Sug Sutton, the point guard head coach Karen Aston described as the “quarterback” of this team, looked prepared to battle Sam Ehlinger for his starting job as she threaded the needle on multiple full court passes.
“Just from the past couple of games, I’ve been passive,” Sutton said. “Coming into the game, my first thought was to be aggressive with my passing.”
Lashann Higgs, her partner-in-crime, picked up where she left off on Monday against North Texas. Three days after becoming the 44th Longhorn to join the 1,000 point club, she proved herself to be more than just a scorer. Higgs finished with a team-high seven assists on the night.
Of the many positives for Aston to take away from the night’s 56 point blowout win, a pleasant surprise was the resurgence of Danni Williams. Coming into the game shooting an abysmal 1-for-12 from the three-point line, Williams found her stroke in the first half, shooting 3-for-5 from deep. Finishing with 14 points on the night, this was the performance from Williams that Texas fans had been waiting on.
“I was struggling a little bit mentally, but my teammates and coaches just kept telling me, ‘Shoot the ball and just relax. At some point they’re going to go in,’” Williams said.
With a 29-point halftime lead, Aston began the second half with a five-in, five-out substitution, the first time this year we’ve seen a true first and second unit approach from Aston. With her even distribution of minutes, the only players consistently on the bench were the injured Sedona Prince and Joyner Holmes.
Although they may not be able to contribute to the box score, Prince and Holmes’ bench celebrations are nothing short of entertaining. From bow-and-arrows to their attempt to bring back the dab, the injured front court still manages to find ways to make their presence felt.
“They miss being a part of the team,” Aston said. “This is a chance for them to feel like they’re contributing something. I think they enjoy that.”
The Longhorns return to action in the Gulf Coast Showcase next weekend, where they’ll begin tournament play against Quinnipiac.