Following West Virginia loss, Texas try to rebound ahead of Red River rival

Stephen Wagner

Texas hasn’t looked great this season.

A team that has been on the border of being considered a powerhouse the last two years has been uncharacteristically inconsistent throughout the season, thanks to injuries and transfers.

At times, the No. 12 Longhorns have looked just a step away from being Big 12 contenders. During others, like on Monday night against West Virginia, they’ve looked human.

Now, head coach Karen Aston’s squad is on the outside looking in on its hopes of hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, with two matchups against Baylor, a consistently top-five ranked team, left and a date with rival Oklahoma on Saturday.

“Records go out the window (in the Red River Rivalry),” associate head coach Jamie Carey said. “It’s going to be a tough mentality that we’re going to meet on the road, and one we’re looking forward to.”

In the Longhorns’ last meeting with the Sooners on Jan. 9, the contest came down to the wire. Texas blew a double-digit lead and Oklahoma came within a bucket of tying the game on six straight possessions in the fourth quarter, but the Longhorns ultimately prevailed.

Now, going into Norman, Texas has plenty to fret.

“We have to take it one game at a time,” Texas forward Joyner Holmes said. “Everybody’s playing their best basketball right now, and we do need to focus on Oklahoma.”

One thing that has been a recurring nuisance for Texas has been the turnover problem. Even in home victories, costly turnovers and inconsistency at the beginning and ends of games have given Texas more than a few scares.

“I’ve had some turnovers in the past few games, the point guards have had some turnovers,” Holmes says. “We’re making the correct reads but not always the right plays.”

One of the point guards Holmes is referring to is junior Sug Sutton, who committed six turnovers in a potentially detrimental loss to West Virginia.

Sutton, who was in tears following the loss to West Virginia, has rebounded in the past two days.

“She’s a competitor. She feels an immense amount of pressure with how we perform, day in and day out, as a point guard should,” Carey said. “I think having a day off was good for her, and I think (Wednesday) was even better.”

While the Big 12 Championship is not yet entirely out of the picture for Texas, the vision is slowly going out of focus. A victory in Norman won’t put Texas back into the running for a Big 12 title, but there’s no denying that Saturday afternoon is a must-win.   

Texas will face off against Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, on Saturday at 3 p.m.