For most of the country, the day after Thanksgiving is usually filled with leftovers, Black Friday savings and a day of rest. The Longhorns weren’t able to indulge in that luxury as they pulled out a nail-biter, 56-55, against the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the first game of the Gulf Coast Showcase. With their win, the Longhorns improve their record to 4–0. It's the first time this season Texas has been pushed to the brink.
Guard/forward Audrey Warren, one of the freshmen in this year's “Fab Five,” had her chance in the spotlight. With 47 seconds left, Warren raised up and knocked down a jump shot from the free throw line. Her jump shot eventually proved to be the game-winner.
Quinnipiac had a chance at the end of the game to knock off the No. 11 Longhorns. With two seconds left, they inbounded the ball to Jen Fay, who led them in scoring with 15 points. Her three was off the mark and was rebounded by Taylor Herd, only to be missed as time expired, allowing Texas to advance to the second round of the Showcase.
“I'm really proud of our team,” head coach Karen Aston said. “We have so many players in new roles. With the injury to Lashann and Jatarie getting into early foul trouble, we really got discombobulated.”
Texas once again was inefficient on the offensive end; the Longhorns shot 43 percent from the field.
Their offensive efforts were also stifled when top-scorer Lashann Higgs left the game with a knee injury. The severity of the injury is still unknown. Senior guard Higgs, being an elder statesman on the team, has been the driving force of the offense this season. She carries the load as others, such as guards Sug Sutton and graduate transfer Danni Williams, work their way into a rhythm.
Due to the struggling offense, the defense was the calling card once again. The Bobcats were held to an abysmal 27 percent from the field. Despite the poor shooting, Quinnipiac was able to show resilience.
Along with their defense, the Longhorns were helped by guard/forward Jada Underwood, who had another dominant game on the boards. Her 13 rebounds were a game high.
“Coach expressed at halftime that we were being outrebounded,” Underwood said. “I picked something to work on. I went out there and just tried to rebound.”
Aston praised Underwood for accepting the challenge.
“Jada's grit was the difference in the game,” Aston said.
If Higgs is out, then Underwood’s efforts will surely be needed when the Longhorns play Michigan on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.