The Texas women’s basketball team found itself in a case of déjà vu against West Virginia in Morgantown on Saturday. The Longhorns went into halftime trailing, much like their previous game against Iowa State, but there was no third quarter outburst to save them.
Texas suffered from early foul trouble, turnovers, missed free throws and inconsistent shots. The Mountaineers had a 17-point lead at halftime and never looked back, handing Texas its biggest loss all season, 92-58. Head coach Vic Shaefer said the Longhorns struggled to match West Virginia’s fight.
“We didn’t have a competitive spirit,” Schaefer said. “I thought they (West Virginia) were really aggressive, and we struggled with that obviously.”
Desperate to seize momentum in the second half, Schaefer gave freshmen reserve players such as guard Shay Holle and center Precious Johnson an opportunity to play extended minutes. Despite valiant finagling with the lineup, no Texas player could provide a spark.
“You’re calling timeouts and you’re talking to them, and you just can’t get them to change,” Shaefer said.
Texas lacked a stand-out player in tonight’s contest. Junior center Charli Collier came into the contest averaging over 20 points a game, but finished with only five. Junior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor led all scorers, but shot just 29% from the field. The Longhorns as a whole shot just 40% and 4-for-14 from beyond the arc in tonight’s loss.
“You can go down our stat sheet. We got a bunch of shooters that shot the ball, but they didn’t make anything,” Shaefer said. “It ain’t about shots, it’s about makes.”
West Virginia went on a 15-point run in the third quarter that pretty much solidified the win as Texas struggled to rally back due to missed shots, a total of 24 clanking off the rim in the second and third quarters combined. Every time Texas did score, West Virginia had an answer to expand its lead.
The typical fiery defense was instead sloppy and unable to interrupt the fast transitions by the Mountaineers. The defense gave up 48 points in the paint, 30 points off turnovers and 20 fast break points. Shaefer described those points as toughness stats.
“We gave up 92 points. That says it all,” Schaefer said. “We just weren’t competitive defensively.”
Schaefer said the last time he had a team score 90 plus points on him was in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 round against UConn in 2016, when he was the head coach at Mississippi State.
Texas will now look to rebound quickly after admittedly getting punched in the mouth. While the Longhorns are still 8–2 on the year, the lack of effort was concerning, Schaefer said.
“I’ll be anxious to see how this group responds because it’s concerning when you don’t have that competitive spirit like we didn’t have today,” Schaefer said.