Texas women’s basketball looks for back-to-back Big 12 Tournament titles

Lindsay Plotkin, General Sports Reporter

Following its first regular season Big 12 Championship since 2004, Texas is looking to win the Big 12 tournament for the second time in a row. As the tournament’s No. 1 seed, the Texas Longhorns get an automatic bid to the tournament’s quarterfinals. 

Following its title-clinching win at Kansas State on Saturday, The Longhorns returned to the Moody Center Monday to cut down the nets in celebration. Head coach Vic Schaefer said that the team deserved a day of celebration, but the work is still not done. 

“We’ve got more work ahead of us,” Schaefer said. “That’ll be our next challenge. You know, that’s why you’re at Texas right here, to win championships and you’ve got two more in front of you that are possibilities this season.”

Last year, Texas won its first Big 12 Tournament Championship since 2003 and is looking to win back-to-back titles after a season of adversity. For a team that has played through injuries and lineup changes, Schaefer said consistency will be key for the Longhorns to keep winning.

“I think the reason we’re not sitting here (with), you know, 15, 16, 17 wins is that inconsistency piece that just jumps up and gets us every now and then,” Schaefer said. “I think (inconsistency is) not uncommon for a team that has six, seven new players that are all in the rotation.”

Texas only returned one starter from last year, sophomore guard Rori Harmon, and her on-court leadership has been key to the team’s success. Harmon averages 35.7 minutes per game, the highest on the team. 

Schaefer said that Harmon’s leadership is similar to a second coach being on the court with the team.

“(Playing point guard) will have that leadership to be responsible for the team and make sure everybody’s held accountable and (I need to) keep myself accountable,” Harmon said. “(Schaefer) knows I’m pretty hard on myself. He just wants to make sure I’m just sharing that responsibility and making sure I’m holding everybody else accountable around me.”

For Texas to win the Big 12 Tournament again, it will need to play with few mistakes because of how competitive the conference is. After its first round bye, Texas will face No. 9 Kansas State, who the Horns dispatched in two comfortable wins.

The Big 12 tournament will be a true show of Texas’ toughness, something that Schaefer has not been afraid to question throughout the season. 

“Part of toughness is being consistent and we were lacking in that piece,” junior guard Shay Holle said. “We all have tried to improve our own gain and our own toughness, and collectively that’s helped a lot.” 

Texas will take the court for the first time in Kansas City on Friday against Kansas State for a spot in the semifinals.