Texas women’s basketball prepares for Kansas State, looks to complete sweep

Robert Trevino

With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Longhorns have a limited number of opportunities to make a case to the NCAA Tournament selection committee that they deserve a spot. Saturday afternoon’s game against the Kansas State Wildcats is another chance to get a conference win that can only bolster Texas’ résumé heading into March.

The visiting Wildcats travel to Austin two games behind the Longhorns in the Big 12 Conference standings after the Longhorns toppled them earlier in the season in Manhattan, Kansas in mid-January. Both teams fought hard in that game, with the Wildcats making an impressive rally in the fourth quarter. Down 12 points with eight minutes to play, they were able to cut the deficit to four in the final minute. Texas was able to seal the deal and escape the “Little Apple” with a 71-63 win. 

“In particular for our team, it’s been a struggle in Manhattan, Kansas,” head coach Karen Aston said after her team put away Kansas State. “I just thought that we were able to withstand the runs and have the mental toughness of being able to finish some plays and finish the game.”

That win put the Longhorns above .500 in conference play for the first time in 2020 and served as a catalyst for a five-game win streak that Texas carried until their loss to No. 1 Baylor that ended January. Since then, Texas has gone 2–2, with an impressive win over West Virginia on Monday coupled with a pair of disappointing losses against Iowa State and Kansas.

“The past couple of losses (to Iowa State and Kansas) were really sad,” sophomore center Charli Collier said following the win over West Virginia. “This win definitely got our confidence up, and we can make another run for it.”

Collier has emerged this season as a leading playmaker for the Longhorns and leads the team in both points and rebounds, averaging a double-double with 13.4 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game. Her performance this season has been a large factor in the team’s victories, and her continued production will be necessary for sustained success. 

A solid start to the game will be crucial in getting a win over Kansas State that could have big NCAA Tournament implications. The Longhorns trailed at the half in each of the two games they lost last week. To maintain their status as a bubble tournament team, they must start strong. 

“We tend to start off slow, so if we can keep starting off how we did (against West Virginia), I feel like we can compete with a lot of teams,” Collier said after the win over West Virginia, which came on the heels of a 13-2 start. “We came out with a lot of energy … It was a good outcome for us.”