The Longhorns started off slow in their Sunday afternoon game against North Texas, but junior center Charli Collier saved the day en route to a 106–69 Texas win.
Collier, a Preseason All-Big 12 selection, posted career highs at the Frank Erwin Center with 44 points and 14 made free throws while also snagging 16 rebounds. The junior kept the Longhorns afloat through a sloppy first half, scoring 22 of Texas’ 46 points without rest.
“I just knew, whatever I had to do, (I had to) be on the court as much as possible,” Collier said. “I knew in order for my team to dominate the paint, I had to be in the game. That was my mindset going in, being confident and dominating the paint, which is what I did today.”
Texas started off slow in the first quarter, coughing up four turnovers while shooting a paltry 38.9% from the field compared to the Mean Green’s 50%. However, the Longhorns quickly regrouped on both sides of the ball and held a comfortable 14-point halftime lead behind to Collier’s performance. The team finished with over 100 points in a game for the first time since December 2018. The increased offensive production was attributed to better ball movement, head coach Vic Schaefer said.
“In the first half we had some dead ends, where the ball gets to a certain spot or certain person and it’s just a dead end,” Schaefer said. “I thought in the second half we really shared the ball better and I think that’s indicative of 38 points in the third quarter.”
Texas’ offense was kickstarted by a bevy of free throw attempts. The Longhorns made 71.4% of their 42 free throws on the day behind aggressive drives to the basket. Collier shot 15 on the day.
“We want to make more free throws than our opponents attempt,” Schaefer said. “We’re always going to attack the rim if we are doing things the right way. I thought in the second half we really did a nice job.”
Another positive development in the game was the contribution from junior Audrey Warren. Despite standing at only 5-foot-9-inches tall, Warren has played the post through the first two games of the year. She notched 16 points on the day and has taken countless charges in the young season, constantly diving for loose balls.
“I love taking charges,” Warren said. “I feel like it’s something on the court that not everybody enjoys doing, but I like getting that extra possession for the team. I like the intensity of our press.”
Although they are only two games into the season, the Longhorns have played cohesively despite losing four contributing seniors from last year’s team and adding an entirely new coaching staff. The team has a chemistry with each other molded over the offseason, Collier said.
“Our chemistry has grown tremendously,” Collier said. “Having a new coaching staff and adjusting with the coaching, I feel like we are doing really well … our chemistry has gotten us really great wins in these past two games.”