No. 17 Texas prepares for home stretch as burnout begins to creep in


Assad Malik

Texas guard Shaylee Gonzales attempts a layup against Texas Tech at the Moody Center on Feb. 8, 2022. Texas defeated Texas Tech 80-71.

Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter

Settling down after the wake-up call that was a defensive Iowa State team on Monday, Texas women’s basketball head coach Vic Schaefer and graduate student guard Shaylee Gonzales seemed fairly composed during their most recent media availability.       

With the team closing in on their regular season tied for first place in the Big 12, focus and accuracy is needed now more than ever. Schaefer, already looking ahead to their next matchup, reiterated the importance of taking rest days and how they’ll be necessary in taking on West Virginia this weekend.   

“We competed and did the best we could do, but I think we were a tired group,” Schaefer said. “We can’t afford to have an off night, and I attribute that to some real fatigue.” 

Next week will be the group’s first bye week of the season after playing 16 straight games in conference play, to which Schaefer said is largely overdue for the amount of stress his players have been under.   

“Our bye for our kids is February in the 20s, that’s a problem for me,” Schaefer said. “You can’t tell me that scheduling is that difficult that you can’t give everybody a fair bye during the course of a conference season and not wait until their last two games.”

One aspect that has been hit particularly hard this season as compared to others is the team’s free throw abilities. Against Iowa State, Texas went 5-12 in free-throw shooting, putting them at a 41.7% success rate compared to the Cyclones’ 60%.    

“The whole thing is you just got to want to be there; It’s a toughness thing,” Schaefer said. “They’ve got to make 50 a day, at some point either before or after practice. We don’t make them, but we encourage them to do that.”      

Gonzales has been a key asset in helping Texas secure their 20–7 record so far on the season. The Arizona product has scored in double digits in 18 games and is currently the only Longhorn within the top 50 in the NCAA for free-throw shooting with an 86.08% success rate.

However, Gonzales gained only three points against Iowa State, a statistic that she said she’s not too proud of. 

“I have a chip on my shoulder,” Gonzales said. “It wasn’t my game, I didn’t show up to help the team, I didn’t average what I usually average in points. Coming into practice every single day and proving that I can hit those shots and working on my shooting with a coach or manager is what I’m doing.”     

For now, Texas looks to take a positive mindset into the weekend as it enters the final stretch of the regular season.