A superfan of the late Kobe Bryant, Joyner Holmes has worn the number 24 on her back since her high school playing days in Cedar Hill, Texas. Sporting a number with great meaning to her, it’s fitting that the star senior forward will be the last player to wear that jersey at the University of Texas.
“The number is significant in so many ways,” Holmes said. “I’ve been wearing this number for a while. It’s just a really special number to me and to my family.”
In a ceremony before its final regular season game against Oklahoma State on Sunday, the Texas women’s basketball team will retire the jersey number of Longhorn legend Clarissa Davis.
Davis wore 24 from 1985-89. While at Texas, she and the Longhorns won the 1986 National Championship, advanced to the 1987 Final Four and made two more NCAA Elite Eight appearances. A two-time All-American, Davis won the United States Basketball Writers Association’s National Player of the Year Award in 1989 and set 3-point shooting records on the bronze medal-winning 1992 U.S. Olympic team in Barcelona.
Once Davis’ jersey is immortalized Sunday, she will become the second women’s basketball player at Texas to have her jersey retired after Kamie Ethridge’s No. 33 jersey was retired in September 2019. Ethridge played at Texas from 1982-86.
“I think it’s an expected step,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said on the jersey retirements of Texas’ female athletes. “I appreciate Chris Del Conte kind of being the lead on that. There’s no question that this is a storied program that has had national players of the year and players that you should, when you walk into the arena to watch a Texas basketball game, see a female jersey.”
Since Davis left the Forty Acres in 1989, a long line of other Texas greats have worn the No. 24. Aston is excited for Davis, but she said the jersey retirement will be bittersweet.
“It is a little sad to me that no one else will be wearing 24,” Aston said. “It’s been kind of fun to see people pick their number because of who wore it in the past, but that’s over and done with.”
Another player who wore the No. 24 is former Longhorn Ariel Atkins, who played from 2014-18. Atkins was an All-Big 12 guard at Texas and a mentor to Holmes. In September, Atkins won a WNBA Championship with the Washington Mystics, and she plays on the USA National Team. She passed the jersey down to Holmes, with whom the legacy of No. 24 will end at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
“I’m really honored to wear the number,” Holmes said. “Kind of around this time last year, we did a project with coach just to see the people that have worn your number over the years … (Davis is) an amazing woman, and the legacy she has left here, we’re just trying to all carry it on.”
On Sunday, the program will celebrate senior day, and Holmes will have one final opportunity to wear the No. 24 while playing her last home game at the Frank Erwin Center as a Longhorn. She and the Texas women’s basketball team will look to close out the regular season with a win over Oklahoma State ahead of the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments.
Win or lose, Aston said Sunday will be a big day for the Longhorns.
“It’s our last home game, we’re honoring Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil and retiring her jersey, which is a huge event for us at the University of Texas, and then it’s senior day,” Aston said. “So, there’s a lot of reasons to come to the Erwin Center at 11:30 on Sunday morning.”