Key returners to watch as No. 3 women’s basketball hits the court

Emma Hutchinson, Senior sports reporter

As the Texas women’s basketball team bid farewell to three seniors after its 29–7 record last season, the time has come for their younger counterparts to take the lead.

With head coach Vic Schaefer bringing in new coaching staff members and multiple transfers, key returning players will have a crucial role in keeping the chemistry flowing following a second consecutive Elite 8 appearance in the NCAA Tournament last year. The Longhorns enter the season at No. 3 in the preseason AP Top 25 and took down DePaul, which sits just outside the Top 25, 105-62 on Sunday in an exhibition match. 

Here’s a look at some of the Longhorns’ key returning players before the season officially tips off on Nov. 11 against Louisiana:


Rori Harmon   

Asad Malik

Coming off a successful freshman year, Harmon has hit the ground running as one of the most prominent players on the court. In her first season, the sophomore guard was the first Texas player to earn All-American Honorable Mention honors from the Associated Press and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. 

Harmon was an immediate staple of the team, finishing the 2021-22 season with an average of 11.4 points per game and starting 34 out of the 36 games she appeared in. 

While Harmon has received plenty of recognition from her coach and teammates, head coach Vic Schaefer said she is going all in on her role as a leader from her position on the court.   

“I think Rori is trying to do her part as a point guard,” Schaefer said on Oct. 3. “She knows the responsibility that comes with being the point guard and having a voice and being a leader.”


Aaliyah Moore

Assad Malik

Returning to basketball after missing a significant portion of her freshman year due to injury, the 6-foot-1-inch sophomore forward started to realize her potential toward the end of last season. Her ability to adapt to any situation made coming back seamless and allowed her to finish out the 2022 NCAA Tournament with a season-high 21 points against Utah.     

Moore spent a good portion of her summer traveling with the USA Women’s Basketball 3×3 U23 Nations League team, where she got the opportunity to focus on strengthening her physical as well as mental performance.  

“Three on three is such a fun game, but it’s also a mental game,” Moore said. “It’s just having that ‘Nobody can stop me mindset,’ and if I can get through one thing, I can get through another.”

Appearing in 28 games and having nine starts throughout the previous season, Moore averaged 6 points per game and finished second on the team infield goal percentage at a 51.3% clip.


DeYona Gaston

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

Gaston had an explosive sophomore year last season, putting up 11 double-digit point games across the 34 she played in. The junior forward now enters her third season with the Longhorns and is off to a running start, shooting 8-for-8 and scoring 18 points in the team’s exhibition game against DePaul.

Her efficiency with the ball has made her a consistent force on the court, averaging 7.1 points per game and shooting 51.9% from the field last season.  

Being one of the more experienced upperclassmen will definitely pay off as Gaston looks to continue being a positive yet authoritative presence on the team.