Longhorns gear up for new season

Myah Taylor

Texas women’s basketball returns in less than a month. 

Head coach Karen Aston addressed the media Monday to discuss the upcoming season ahead of the team’s first practice on Tuesday.

“(The) season kicks off soon, so I thought we had a really good offseason,” Aston said. “(We) had some players I felt like really needed to reestablish themselves and some youngsters get in here and get their feet wet.”

Aston said one player who is working to get back on the court is redshirt senior Lashann Higgs. Last November, Higgs suffered a season-ending ACL injury in a Texas victory over Quinnipiac. In August, the Big 12 approved a hardship waiver for the guard to return to Texas for her final year of eligibility. 

“(Higgs) is what most of us would just define as a gym rat,” Aston said. “(She) spent the adequate amount of time it takes to make sure her skill level stayed the same. It’s just really now, at this point, a matter of trusting herself (and) trusting the knee.”

Aston acknowledged the Longhorns’ depth issues in the front court, but she said competitiveness will be more of a factor than size this season, and she thinks the team will compete.

“I like to defend, I like to run,” Aston said. “And I think that we have some post players that are able to do that.”

Aston pointed to senior guard Jada Underwood and sophomore forward Audrey Warren as individuals she thinks will be up for the challenge in the post. 

Sophomore center Charli Collier was also included in this group. Aston said Collier will have increased game reps this year.

“She’s put herself in a position that I think she’s more than ready to take on that responsibility,” Aston said. “I think she’s physically stronger and more confident than she was last year.”

The departures of guards Danni Williams and Destiny Littleton after last season create question marks surrounding Texas’ shooting game in the perimeter, but Aston thinks this year’s team will fill these holes in production. 

“There’s no question that we have some newcomers that will contribute heavily to our team,” Aston said. “I think the players that returned understood they were going to step in some shoes and there was going to be a necessity for more perimeter shooting.”

After a summer of conditioning, Aston is preparing the team for a new season.

“There will be a different feel in the air tomorrow when they put on their new practice uniforms,” Aston said. “And there’s a little bit more of a pep in their step as far as understanding that we’re a month away from a scrimmage.”

The Longhorns will open their season at the Frank Erwin Center in an exhibition against Lubbock Christian on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.