Texas women’s basketball team improving ahead of NCAA tournament

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Elijah Garcia, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the March 1, 2022 flipbook.

Head coach Vic Schaefer and the No. 9 Texas women’s basketball team are on a six-game winning streak, bringing them to a 21-6 record on the season. With only two games left in the regular season, the young team has made vast improvements to prepare for the tournament. 

A strong early-season win against Stanford set the bar high for the Longhorns. Despite Texas’ impressive record since then, Schaefer has felt the team hasn’t lived up to that level of play since, but he feels the Longhorns are rounding into shape with Texas’ current win streak. 

“We’re young, inexperienced and we’re immature,” Schaefer said. “It’s just who we are right now. That’s part of coaching. You have to bring them along, develop them, nurture them and get them to that point where that’s not an issue. For this team, it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Since the start of their season, the Longhorns have worked for several impressive wins against rival opponents. They currently sit just inside the AP Top 10, and are looking to finish the season with a two seed for the NCAA Tournament. Shaefer has credited the team’s leadership, specifically seniors Joanne “Jo” Allen-Taylor and Audrey Warren, for development within the team.

“I told Jo and Audrey, ‘Hey, it’s your senior year, you make sure that everybody’s focused in practice, you make sure we have good practices leading up to games, you make sure that everybody’s ready,’” Schaefer said. “Jo and Audrey, when they do speak up, people listen. They have a voice, they have a presence.”

Many of the Texas players have felt a similar growth within the team. Sophomore guard Shay Holle said her connection with her teammates and the coaching staff has been key to the team’s success.

“I love my teammates and the coaching staff,” Holle said. “That makes it a lot easier really just buying into the team.”

Senior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor, who has played the most minutes out of anyone on the team, stressed the importance of being able to rely on her fellow Longhorns during game action. 

“It’s just trust that you have in each other,” Allen-Taylor said. “There’s nobody else you want to be on the floor with. It’s these girls or nobody, so that’s the confidence I have in them. It’s just my family.”

The young team has developed into a family, and they are all playing for each other and willing to give it everything they have. 

“You’ll never catch our Texas women’s basketball team not playing hard,” star freshman guard Rori Harmon said. “That’s one thing that we’ll always do every game.” 

As the regular season comes to an end, the team’s current six-game win streak is the perfect time to be heating up. The entire team is feeling the rush of excitement and anticipation as the tournament nears. 

“I’m excited for our kids,” Schaefer said. “They got a chance to do something special. It doesn’t happen every year, but this team, this year, right now, in this moment, they have an opportunity, so we’ll see how it all plays out.”