Longhorns’ late comeback halted by top-ranked Baylor

Donnavan Smoot

Baylor arrived on the scene with the hype expected from the country’s No. 1 team. The fans packed the Frank Erwin Center with energy and Texas was able to feed off of it early.

But the Longhorns couldn’t maintain it for the entirety of the first quarter, digging themselves into a hole they couldn’t climb out of. They ultimately lost 74-68.

“I think the third quarter run, (we) just looked like we were not as competitive as you have to be for 40 minutes,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “Those will be the moments that we’ll wish we had back.”

Prior to that third quarter run, Texas already faced a marginal deficit after the first 20 minutes of play. Despite being down seven at the end of the first half, Texas accomplished a major feat heading into the locker room. Baylor center Kalani Brown was held without a field goal and would have remained scoreless had it not been for a foul within the final minute of the first half.

The second half was a different story for Brown. She finished with 15 points and six rebounds. Meanwhile her teammate, guard Moon Ursin, had a game-high 20 points and was on her game from the opening tip.

“When Moon shoots the ball like that, it’s pretty good,” Aston said.

Baylor was the more physical team from start to finish. The top-ranked Lady Bears dominated the offensive glass as well as the free-throw line and even prevented Texas from reaching the foul line until the third quarter.

“It was (because of a) lack of aggression,” Aston said about the lack of free throws. “I know the concern was all the blocks. We should have let them block a few just to be more aggressive.”

Texas, which usually has a size advantage on its opponents, met its match Monday.

“Seventeen offensive rebounds is a big difference,” Aston said. “We only had four.”

For Texas, guards Sug Sutton and Danni Williams were the only source of offense. The duo combined for 38 points — over half of Texas’ points — including a stretch when Williams almost shot the Longhorns to a come-from-behind win.

After Texas cut the deficit down to 10, Williams caught fire. Two threes and a layup later, she had not only rejuvenated the Longhorns’ hopes, but the Erwin Center’s.

“I was just trying to find my rhythm,” Williams said. “I’m comfortable taking those shots. The more and more games I play here, (I’m) just finding my rhythm.”

Williams did all she could. However, Baylor still left victorious in the end.

“The fourth quarter just showed how much heart we have,” Sutton said. “We were down by a lot, so just to come back in the game showed a lot about our team.”

The loss gives the Longhorns their third conference loss and effectively ends any chance to win the Big 12 regular season title. They now would need Baylor to lose three games, with one of those losses needing to be against Texas in Waco.

Texas will have a chance to get back on track Saturday against Kansas at 7 p.m.