Longhorns go nuclear from three-point range in bounce-back win over Idaho

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Photo Credit: Jack Myer | Daily Texan Staff

Vic Schaefer challenged his guards after their inept three-point shooting in the Longhorns’ loss to Texas A&M Sunday. The Texas women’s basketball team responded to the head coach by hoisting a team-record, 37 three-point shots en route to a 73-48 victory against an overmatched Idaho squad.

The Idaho Vandals entered Wednesday’s contest shooting 31% from three-point range on the year, but Texas lit up the Frank Erwin Center, shooting 39% in the first half. A trio of guards who each canned three deep shots carried the Longhorns’ offense. 

Redshirt sophomore guard Karisma Ortiz outscored the entire Idaho team in the first half, cashing in a career-high 15 points on the day. Graduate point guard Kyra Lambert earned her first start of the year and responded by shooting 60% from deep. Junior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor continued upon her impressive performance against Texas A&M by scoring 13 points.

The Longhorns improved in vital areas from their loss against Texas A&M, responding as a top-25 team should, Allen-Taylor said.

“We knew we had to come into practice and do what we had to do to face Idaho,” Allen-Taylor said. “We moved on, and we had to get better at the things we weren’t (doing well) during Texas A&M, and that’s what we have to do for the next game too.”

Ortiz provided a spark off the bench for the second time in two games. After struggling to find her place in the offense through the first three games of the season, the redshirt sophomore has gone 5-for-13 from the three-point line in the last two contests. Ortiz’s shooting has allowed the Longhorns to open up their entire offense, Schaefer said.

“She’s probably our best shooter right now from three,” Schaefer said. “She shoots it well, and we gotta have some people that can knock down shots.”

Despite the dominant win, Texas still showed weaknesses, particularly in the second half. After building a 46-14 lead at the break, the Longhorns took their foot off the gas and allowed Idaho to outscore them 34-27 in the second half.

“I think we had a lot to do with the first half and why (Idaho) didn’t play well,” Schaefer said. “But we just didn’t have the same intensity, which is very common when you are up 30 at half with a team like we have that is very young, immature and inexperienced.”

For Ortiz, who sat out all of last season due to NCAA transfer rules, the career-high performance was a great experience that she can build off of for the rest of the year. 

“(It) was definitely a confidence booster,” Ortiz said. “Having to sit out last year definitely hurt me a little bit, messed up my mental (state) a little bit. I think today was good to see a little bit of the work that I put in last year, and obviously this year, paying off in a game.”

The Longhorns will have a day off before they gear up to face the Tennessee Volunteers in an ESPN-televised game Sunday. While most of this year’s squad is not familiar with Tennessee, Schaefer ensured he will have them ready.

“We will move on and get ready for a monster Tennessee team,” Schaefer said. “They are big, strong and physical. They rebound it like a monster. I’ve had to deal with them the last eight years. I know what’s coming down the pipe. I’m not sure our kids do, but we will make sure they know by the time we get to Sunday.”