One day after being pushed to the brink by Quinnipiac, Texas came out of the gates with high energy in their blowout win against the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. The Longhorns were able to execute and finally find their groove on the offensive end.
Games can never be fully won in the opening period, but the Longhorns held a firm grasp on the momentum through the first 10 minutes. Texas ended the first quarter on a 21-2 run, ending the period up 23-8. From the time it took the lead, Texas never trailed again, ultimately winning 69-52.
“It was a great win,” head coach Karen Aston said after the game. “I couldn’t have been more pleased with the first half.”
Texas went into this game without guard Lashann Higgs, who sat out this game with an injured knee. In Higgs’ absence, the scoring was picked up by Friday’s hero, Audrey Warren. She led the team in scoring in the first half of Saturday’s outing with 10 points. In the first start of her collegiate career, she finished with 15 points and seven rebounds — both career highs.
Despite the highs in the past two days, Warren kept her focus on Sunday’s tournament final.
“I feel really good,” Warren said. “It’s part of the game. We deserve to be in the (championship game). It’s what we came here to do.”
Along with Warren’s contribution, Jatarie White and Sug Sutton put their fingerprints all over the game. White led the team in scoring with 16 points on 75 percent shooting, despite recording the fewest minutes among the starters. Coming into Saturday’s matchup, the senior forward was in the top 25 in scoring and rebounding in the Big 12.
“We did all the little things that contribute to winning,” White said. “My teammates did a really good job seeing I was getting hot.”
Sutton also had a dominant game, recording a team-high seven assists and seven rebounds to go along with 13 points. Her playmaking skills were key in setting up the rest of the team.
As a team, the defense was the source of their success. The Wolverines failed to score at least 10 points in any of the first half in one of their worst showings this season. They had a season low in points and field goal percentage.
It was an overall dominant game from Texas. The defense was suffocating from tipoff to the final buzzer. The offense showed signs of being one of the best in the country, as in years past.
“We look like a team,” Aston said. “We’ve been able to energize ourselves about being a team.”