Texas women’s basketball seeks signature win over Baylor in Waco

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Photo Credit: Presley Glotfelty | Daily Texan Staff

One of Sug Sutton’s favorite memories on the Texas women’s basketball team came during her freshman season when the Longhorns defeated No. 2 Baylor in Waco. 

The senior point guard and her team haven’t beaten the Bears since that matchup in February 2017, but they hope to come full circle with a win when they travel up Interstate 35 to face the reigning NCAA Champions on Thursday night.

“It’s really hard to win in Waco,” Sutton said. “They have a really good fan base. It’s always a packed house when we go in. … When we go into Waco, we just gotta play as a team and come out really hard.”

When Texas last played Baylor in January, a significant amount of Bears fans made the trip to Austin. Despite the Longhorns’ competitive first half, Baylor supporters witnessed their team blow Texas out 64-44.

The Longhorns were pummeled in January because they crumbled in the third quarter and were never able to fully recover. On Thursday night, they’ll have to play a full 40-minute game if they want a chance to upend the Bears. 

“We’re playing a team that if you don’t play every second of the game at a really high level, then it can snowball very quickly,” Aston said. “We have to, not only on Thursday, but get to this point where that’s how we’re playing all the time if we want to advance in any kind of tournament.”

Baylor’s head coach Kim Mulkey relished the fact that her team shut down Texas’ dominant post duo in senior forward Joyner Holmes and sophomore center Charli Collier.

Holmes put up just four points, and Collier finished the night with three. 

They have a way of doing that to most everyone,” Aston said. “They’re terrific shot blockers, they have depth. And I think that is what is significant for them right now is that their depth enables them to be very aggressive on the boards. … We’re going to have to reverse the basketball some and in particular just try to get (Holmes and Collier) moving the best that we can so that at some point maybe we can take advantage of some paint opportunities.”

Aston will also expect more from her guards this time around. Much of the inefficiency in the post came from the guards’ inability to create off the dribble and make plays for the rest of the team.

But improvement at the guard position has been ever-present in players such as freshman Celeste Taylor, who has taken the load off of veterans on the team in recent matchups against TCU and Oklahoma. 

“We’ve gotten a lot better as far as playing as a team,” Sutton said. “I think our chemistry is getting there and we’re starting to peak at the right moment. I just think that we watch a lot of film. We know where to get the ball and where our best shots are. … I think we have a really good game plan going into this game, so I’m really excited.”