Warren emerges as offensive threat as Texas rolls to convincing win

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Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

Junior forward Audrey Warren continued her scorching start to the 2020 season as the Texas women’s basketball team notched its third-straight blowout victory, winning 84-57 Wednesday night against Louisiana Tech at the Frank Erwin Center. 

Warren, who averaged just over 10 minutes per game last season, has emerged as the third option on the Texas offense behind junior center Charli Collier and sophomore guard Celeste Taylor. The Fort Worth, Texas, product scored a season-high 19 points and displayed excellent court vision with six assists. The performance was no outlier, as Warren has scored in double figures through the first three games of the season.

“(I was) getting downhill, attacking as much as I could and finding that open spot,” Warren said. “Tonight I was hitting more (shots). The zone allowed me to find a spot to score.”  

Warren filled up the stat sheet and had good shot selection throughout the night. She missed some shots she would like to have back, but Warren continues to win the admiration of head coach Vic Schaefer with her basketball IQ.

“She’s my kind of kid,” Schaefer said. “(She’s) tough, physical and smart. She is really a heady player. She got 20 shots tonight and only made eight, and they were all good looks. I like every shot she took.”

While Schaefer was pleased with Warren’s effort, the same couldn’t be said about the rest of the team. Louisiana Tech had a distinct rebound advantage tonight, grabbing 34 to Texas’ 31. The rebounding advantage was a sign of nonchalant effort, Schaefer said.

“We really pride ourselves on playing hard,” Schaefer said. “And I thought those (Louisiana Tech) kids played harder than we did tonight. That’s a hard pill to swallow for me, but that’s my responsibility, and I’ll wear it.” 

Junior point guard Joanne Allen-Taylor had another efficient night running the Texas offense, tallying 10 points and four assists while also knocking down two 3-pointers. Her on-ball pressure on defense was integral in helping the Longhorns force 30 turnovers. While Allen-Taylor said the game wasn’t perfect, Texas’ swarming defense did the job.

“In the second half we made them more uncomfortable,” Allen-Taylor said. “The first half, I feel like we could have helped (on defense) a little more. We forced 30 turnovers, so that is always good defensively.”

Allen-Taylor has taken a backseat in recognition to other players this season, but the junior’s contributions at the point guard position have kept the Longhorns afloat while graduate transfer Kyra Lambert is still on the mend, Schaefer said.

“She is one fun kid to coach,” Schaefer said. “I have so much admiration for her because she wants to get better, and she’s doing it right now.”

Collier fouled out for the first time all season, but not before racking up 22 points and eight rebounds. Collier, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, overcame early struggles with Louisiana Tech’s zone defense to propel Texas to a comfortable first-half lead.

“I thought it was pretty rough down there,” Schaefer said. “In this league, next Sunday, the Sunday after that, it’s probably going to be pretty tough down there again. I’m going to have to do a better job of getting her ready.”

After three straight lopsided victories, Texas will face off against No. 12-ranked Texas A&M on Sunday. The team will need to play better if the Longhorns want to win, Schaefer said.

“We’re glad to win and it’s always good to win by 27,” Schaefer said. “But I don’t think anybody in there thought we played to our potential tonight.”