Back to the Elite Eight: Texas takes down Ohio State 66-63 despite Harmon’s foul trouble to return to quarterfinals

Amsal Madhani, Senior Sports Reporter

With 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Texas led Ohio State 66-63, just one stop away from heading back to the Elite Eight for the second season in a row. 

Trying to send the game to overtime with the ball in her hands, Buckeyes forward Tanaya Beacham looked for an opening to take a 3-pointer and tie the game.

However, Aaliyah Moore had different plans. 

The freshman forward watched as Beacham searched for a shot, finally found a spot and went up for a 3-point jumper. But Moore came in at just the right time to swat her shot away as time expired, sending Texas to the Elite Eight in Friday’s win. 

“The block that (Moore) made at the end, that’s a freshman that just missed a layup to put you up three, and she comes back down on the other end and makes a heck of a play defensively,” Texas head coach Vic Schaefer said. “This was a gutty win for our bunch. I couldn’t be more proud of them and happy for them, but it took everybody in the room.”

Despite Texas’ star player, freshman guard Rori Harmon, sitting on the bench for most of the game due to foul trouble, a group of Longhorn players stepped up to secure the win. 

Senior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor had a huge game on both ends of the floor, putting up 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting along with three assists and one steal. Allen-Taylor took the tough task of guarding Ohio State’s ball handlers for most of the game in the full-court press.

Her tenacious play allowed Texas to stay close and keep momentum on its side until Harmon returned toward the end of the game, putting away the Buckeyes. 

“It doesn’t feel different than maybe not scoring a lot of points in a game. I’m always doing something that’s going to help us win the game,” Allen-Taylor said. “Today I just had to get some buckets for our team when we needed them.”

Along with Allen-Taylor, Harmon helped put away Ohio State with her tremendous play down the stretch. Although she was in foul trouble for most of the contest, sitting the first half of the fourth quarter with four fouls, the freshman guard came in when the Longhorns needed her most, hitting a big shot with just a minute remaining to put the team up three. 

Harmon also hit two clutch free throws with 10 seconds remaining to put Texas back up three after the team gave up a jumper on the other end. 

“(Harmon), I think, was disappointed in being in foul trouble, and that shot she makes to put us back up three is as big as there is, and then the next two big free throws,” Schaefer said. “The kid wants to be in the moment, and there’s just not a moment too big for her.”

Following Friday night’s win, Texas will pivot its focus to the Elite Eight where it will face the winner of the Stanford-Maryland game on Sunday.