Focus, execution key in Texas women’s basketball matchup against Baylor

Taylor Hawthorne

Editor's Note: This story has been reflected to show that Texas will play No. 7 Baylor in Austin, not in Waco. The Texan regrets this error.

The Texas women’s basketball team doesn’t have much time to regroup after a gut-wrenching overtime loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, as they will play No. 7 Baylor on Monday night in Austin. 

The Longhorns seemed to finally create a chemistry that was missing earlier in the season in two dominant victories against Kansas State and Kansas. Texas controlled both sides of the ball effortlessly, with players stepping up and knocking down shots and the defense more aggressive than it's been all year. 

However, Texas has lacked consistency all season, making the one day of prep for the Baylor matchup that much more important in order to avoid the pitfalls of Saturday's game.

“What (Sunday) will look like is not very much,” head coach Vic Schaefer said in a teleconference Feb. 27. “We’ll do what we can, but it won’t be much. In my mind, you find out what you’re made of.”

The last time Texas played Baylor, it lost by 25 points. In a teleconference Feb. 27, junior center Charli Collier said having a short memory regarding the loss and learning from mistakes will be the key for Texas. 

“It’s basketball — you never step (away) from a challenge,” Collier said. “(You’ve) definitely got to take ownership and accountability. Basketball is a game of mistakes, but you (have) to learn to overcome those and do better next time.” 

The Longhorns are currently 6–0 this season in games played following a loss, but Schaefer said the team needs to be focused at all times.

“You come back tomorrow and all of sudden you’re interested? That doesn’t show me anything,” Schaefer said. “That doesn’t show me someone’s character, that all of sudden they’re going to come back tomorrow and be like, ‘Let me be focused today.’ Well what about this morning at shootaround, what about yesterday and the day before?”

Texas needs to have defensive focus for the entirety of the game against the Lady Bears, who are 14–1 in conference play and averaging 82 points per game.

“If you’re going to be a great player, it’s not about looking cool,” Schaefer said. “You’ve got to play, (and) you’ve got to grind every day. You’ve got to really focus.”

One thing working in the Longhorns’ favor — the matchup is at home in the Frank Erwin Center. Texas is currently 12–3 on the year when playing in Austin, and Collier said the team needs to probe the paint if they want to keep their home-court advantage.

“We need to take advantage of things that have been working this whole season, taking advantage of the paint,” Collier said. “Just being a great team, playing as a team. Doing what works best.”