Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Longhorns look to combat road woes on trip to Norman

Jack Myer

In the midst of a storm of postponements, COVID-19 protocols and an inexperienced roster, head coach Vic Schaefer and his Longhorns have to focus on what they can control.

“I have no clue who we play after Wednesday,” Schaefer said. “We’re not good enough to look ahead. We’re completely, totally focused on whoever’s on Wednesday. And then after the game Wednesday, I’ll start looking at who we got after that.” 

Texas will take this day-to-day approach into enemy territory Wednesday night as they face off against rival Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has competed in their last two contests with merely six available players due to COVID-19 protocols, though that hasn’t stopped the 6–7 Sooners’ relentless offensive attack. Oklahoma has averaged 82 points per game in its last two matchups, shooting 26-for-58 from the three-point line. But the undermanned Sooners could face a marked disadvantage when they face Schaefer’s relentless press and man-to-man defensive schemes. 

“Watching them on film the last two ballgames, they’re shooting the crap out of it. It’s almost like Iowa State on steroids. They got four kids out there that can really score and hurt you,” Schaefer said. “We have to play our way. Whether they’ve got six (players) or 10, you’ve got to wear down the people you’re playing against.”

Unlike the Sooners, the Longhorns are hoping to be back at relatively full strength Wednesday night. While freshman forward DeYona Gaston is done for the season after suffering a leg injury against Louisiana Tech, Schaefer is hopeful that junior forward Audrey Warren will return to action after missing the last three games with a concussion. 

Regardless of the available roster, the Longhorns have struggled on the road. Texas is  12–4 on the season, but a disappointing 2–3 on the road. Schaefer attributed this disconnect to the team’s attention to detail when traveling.

“We just need to play with a little bit better sense of urgency on the road,” Schaefer said. “Iowa State was a great road win. (We) played really well, had great energy, great focus (and the) bench was great. But in our other two losses on the road, we seem to be lacking in that area.”

Because the Sooners utilize a small lineup, oftentimes playing with four guards, on-ball defense will be key Wednesday night. Sophomore guard Celeste Taylor will be the focal point of Texas’ defensive gameplan after an impressive performance against Texas Tech.

“Celeste (Taylor) didn’t shoot it well the other night, but man, she was a big part of the victory,” Schaefer said. “She did a great job on (Texas Tech guard) Vivian Gray defensively, and she got 11 rebounds. So while she might’ve struggled, she helped us win in other ways. That’s what a great player will do.”

On offense, junior center Charli Collier will look to take advantage of an undersized Sooners in the paint area. Collier was named to the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 Watchlist on Monday and is averaging 21.4 points per game and 12.7 rebounds per game.

Collier’s effort on the glass this season have especially stood out, Schaefer said.

“She’s playing hard,” Schaefer said. “You watch that first half (against Texas Tech) –– 15 rebounds at halftime, and she’s working for all of them. It ain’t like she’s just standing there and they’re coming to her.”


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Longhorns look to combat road woes on trip to Norman