Texas women’s basketball prepares for big road game at No. 25 TCU

Robert Trevino

It’s been a month of highs and lows for Texas so far.

Head coach Karen Aston’s team was riding a five-game win streak into their Jan. 31 matchup against then-No. 1 Baylor, and although a loss to the Bears ended the run, there was still plenty of hope for Texas moving forward. 

The Longhorns stood at 6–3 in an ever-competitive Big 12 at that point. But after losing three of its last five games, Texas finds itself in a gridlock in the conference standings.

“The bottom line is (that) from top to bottom — I said this before we ever started league play — this was the best I’d seen in years,” Aston said after the Longhorns fell to Kansas, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the Big 12. “Every night is pretty tough, especially when you get to that second round (of games) where everybody knows each other really well.”

The final stretch for Aston’s team does not ease up: The Longhorns welcome Oklahoma on Saturday, followed by a road trip to face a Baylor team that has yet to lose a single conference game.

But first, Texas has to travel to Fort Worth to take on No. 25 TCU — its first ranked opponent of the month. The Horned Frogs bested Texas at home in a 65-63 thriller to open conference play nearly two months ago.

“I think they played our tendencies really well,” Aston said after the loss. “They knew what the strengths of each individual player was. I thought they did a really good job bodying our bigs, and we didn’t handle it very well until really late (in the) game.”

However, there is hope for the Longhorns going into Wednesday’s rematch. The first meeting saw the Longhorns playing out of character. Senior forward Joyner Holmes, a veteran leader and anchor of the team, went scoreless in the first half, while Texas’ breakout sensation Charli Collier was only able to muster three points before halftime.

Still, Aston’s team was able to stay in the game until the final moments, when a TCU rebound and score gave the Horned Frogs the win.

A better performance this time around could be huge in the course of the season, especially if Texas wants a chance to claim the second place spot in the conference standings ahead of the Horned Frogs. 

Currently, the Longhorns sit three games behind TCU, who themselves are a nearly insurmountable 3.5 games behind Baylor.

Texas will have to bounce back from a close loss on Saturday to Kansas State in which the Longhorns’ shooting percentage was the difference.

“I thought we were sped up a lot,” Collier said. “A lot of shots that we took … it was just one dribble pullup, or we just didn’t run the play through. I just feel like (Kansas State) sped us up, and we didn’t play at our pace that we normally do.”

As the Longhorns’ penultimate road game, Wednesday will be one of Texas’ last opportunities to make a case for itself to the NCAA Tournament selection committee.