Jayhawks’ home-court advantage no match for Texas in bounce-back performance

Donnavan Smoot

Texas had a hard pill to swallow Monday night.

The Baylor Bears were able to dismantle the Longhorns in the first half and fend off their furious rally in the second. For Texas, the week that ensued was about moving on to Kansas.

“We need to have a road mentality,” head coach Karen Aston said on Friday. “(We need to) really focus on getting out to a fast start.”

But the trip to Lawrence didn’t stop the Longhorns from easily taking down Kansas as forward Joyner Holmes made a layup to start the game, starting a 15-0 run that paved the way to a 91-73 wire-to-wire victory.

“Our team got out of the gates pretty good tonight,” Aston said. “I was really pleased with our energy and our focus.”

It was a complete team win, with five players scoring over double figures while every player logged more than 11 minutes, including forward Audrey Warren in her first game back since suffering from a concussion against Texas Tech.

“I think we’re just starting to figure out who we are at this point,” guard Danni Williams said. “I feel like our last two games were two of the better games we’ve had all season. I’m excited for these games coming forward.”

Holmes and forward Charli Collier contributed heavily by controlling the paint. Holmes had a game-high 22 points and tied Collier for a game-high six rebounds. Collier’s impact was mostly felt at the free-throw line, though. She was perfect from the line, scoring 10 of her 14 points there.

“I'm just happy we pulled out the win,” Holmes said. “My teammates found me in the right spots and right positions. I just tried to finish around the rim as much as possible.”

The win was especially needed for Williams and guard Sug Sutton. It was the first time in over 10 games they haven’t played over 35 minutes.

“Not really,” Williams said when asked if she gets tired of logging so many minutes. “Your body kind of gets used to it.”

Despite the toughness displayed, playing the full game for nearly the entirety of the season isn’t a healthy idea.

While she only played 28 minutes, Williams was still effective, knocking in three of Texas’ four three-point makes on the night which continued her strong shooting display that has begun over the last couple games.

“I feel like since Big 12 play started I’ve been comfortable,” Williams said. “It’s different playing teams that I haven’t played … but I feel comfortable.”

One of the biggest keys for Texas is to continue this momentum on the mini road trip it’s currently on. The win Saturday gives the Longhorns a 3–2 record over their last five games. Getting back to their winning ways is a crucial step to get where they want to be in March.