Texas was on upset alert early in Sunday’s matchup against West Virginia. The Longhorns went into the the half down by two. Whether it was due to great defense by the Mountaineers or just bad offense, one thing was apparent: Texas couldn’t have thrown a rock in an ocean.
Nevertheless, the No. 13 team in the nation came out of the locker room with a purpose and the ability to score the basketball. After only scoring 24 points in the entire first half, the Longhorns exploded for 26 in the third quarter and never looked back, winning 70-58.
Even with the offensive outpour, Texas struggled at times on defense — specifically on West Virginia’s Naomi Davenport. She played 39 minutes and was able to affect the game without tiring.
Davenport was the only Mountaineer to break double digits. Despite being the focal point of the offense, and garnering the attention of Texas’ defense, her 26 points was a season high.
When asked if it was her gameplan to let Davenport get “hers,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said, “No.”
“She’s a difficult matchup,” Aston said. “She had her way with us. There’s no question about it.”
Part of the reason Texas was able to stay in the game and eventually pull away was in large part thanks to its star point guard Sug Sutton, who once again set a career-high in points with 19.
“I had energy,” Sutton said. “They fed me energy. It was a collective team win.”
Sutton’s energy was needed as the team came out lethargic on offense. In the first half, neither center Jatarie White — who ended the game scoreless — or forward Joyner Holmes were able to contribute much on the offensive end, but Holmes turned around around her play in the second half and finish one rebound shy of a double-double.
Holmes, who had surgery in October to repair a broken ankle, has taken on a starting role along with fellow upperclassman Olamide Aborowa. The six-foot-three-inch forwards have started the past two games, both wins, and presented a serious matchup problem.
Together, Holmes and Aborowa combined for 17 points and 18 rebounds. Their presence is an area that Aston feels they “should be able to take advantage of.”
Additionally, guard Destiny Littleton keeps showing her growth. Littleton was second on the team in scoring with 16 points. She hit a career-high in threes (4) once again on Sunday as well.
With the win, Texas improves its road record to 3–0 and extends its win streak to five games. The Longhorns improve to 12–2 on the season and maintain their second-place spot in the Big 12 standings.
“It’s always a tough place to play here in Morgantown,” Aston said. “They should be proud. We went a lot of years in the Big 12 not able to get a win here.”
Texas hosts Oklahoma at the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.