No. 17 Texas can’t shake on-the-road nerves, takes 66-61 loss to Iowa State

Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter

Waving their seven-game winning streak goodbye, No. 17 Texas women’s basketball took their sixth loss on the road for the season, falling 66-61 to No. 22 Iowa State.

Texas has developed a pattern of struggles when facing opponents on the road, including subpar defensive play and inconsistency handling the ball. These factors have caused the Longhorns to lose tight games, such as their matchups against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, which both ended in four-point deficits for Texas.   

Despite Texas previously holding Iowa State to a season low of six points during the fourth quarter while also defeating the then-No. 15 team in January, the Longhorns couldn’t seem to shake their on the road nerves once again. And a packed house inside the Hilton Colosseum only made matters worse.               

Iowa State’s powerful duo of senior forward Ashley Joens and junior guard Emily Ryan didn’t make these struggles any lighter on Texas’ back. Ryan currently trails Texas sophomore Rori Harmon in second place for most assists in the Big 12, averaging 11 per game. Joens went three-for-six for 3-pointers against the Longhorns, leading the Cyclones in scoring with 24 points as she averages 20 per game.         

With the Cyclones leading by 11 points at the end of the first quarter, Texas was looking to recover in a timely manner, but they were pressured again and again by Iowa State’s effortless ball handling and persistence in the paint. The Cyclones held one of Texas’ top scorers, graduate guard Shaylee Gonzales, without a single layup or bucket within the first half. 

Gonzales wasn’t the only one who saw less success than usual. Texas found shooting trouble to be prominent as they shot at 39% from the field and went 2-14 in 3-pointers. The team’s most impressive shooters were held to season-low numbers. 

Sophomore guard Rori Harmon wasn’t going down without a fight, however, as she attempted to lift Texas out of Iowa State’s towering shadow. Harmon recorded a season-high of 19 points and played her longest game, spending 40 minutes on the court.      

One Longhorn who saw crucial minutes and used them to her advantage was freshman guard Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda. The South Dakota product consistently made sure the ball was either in her hands or going in for a basket, securing 10 points and five rebounds for Texas before fouling out during the fourth quarter.  

Still trailing by over 10 points by the time the fourth quarter came around, Texas needed to make a plan of action. With 3:20 left on the clock, Texas began to creep in, reducing the score to a four-point deficit. Yet the Longhorns came up short due to foul trouble, giving up another win within reach.

As their regular season schedule depletes, Texas will have their first bye week of the season and will return to the Moody Center to face West Virginia on Sunday.