Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas women’s basketball freshman Madison Booker’s ascension to star player status

Skyler Sharp
Freshman forward Madison Booker pushes past opponents towards the net on Feb. 4, 2024. Booker scored 20 points to lead the Longhorns to a 61-54 upset win over the Kansas State Wildcats.

Early into the season, Texas lost standout point guard Rori Harmon, whom head coach Vic Schaefer describes as “the best guard in the country.” With the heartbeat and facilitator of the team out for the year, the next-man mentality opened the door for freshman Madison Booker to take the reins.

“The kid is special,” said Schaefer after a stellar road-game performance from Booker against Baylor. Booker finished the Baylor matchup leading both teams with 22 points, four rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.

Booker came into the season more than capable of handling on-ball duties with a complete offensive game, which is what made her a five-star recruit ranked No. 12 in her class by ESPN. However, the help of her teammate is what has eased her into the transition from playing on the wing to running the point. 

“I got here and definitely learned a lot from Rori, and when she went down, I think I took what I learned from her and put it in my game,” Booker said. 

Since taking over point guard duties for Harmon, Booker has garnered numerous awards, including four Big 12 Freshman of the Week, two Big 12 Player of the Week honors and one National Player of the Week nod, according to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Booker’s level of play is a massive part of keeping Texas competitive and near the top of the rankings as she continues to grow more comfortable in her role. 

“I think each game I learn something new about what I can do better to improve my game and grow my confidence on the court and lead my team better,” Booker said. “It’s part of my personality; I just go out there and play me.” 

Her natural scoring abilities from the wing, a knack for mid-range shots and frontcourt athleticism earned Booker her high-ranking status across the country. She now pairs her scoring with the duties of being the team’s facilitator, bringing the ball up the court to initiate the offense and being responsible for getting teammates involved. 

While it is new territory for her, coaches around the country saw the beaming potential for her to become a dominant force for their team.

Booker’s potential has always been apparent to Schaefer, as he started his recruiting process on her during her eighth-grade season. Earlier this month, he said that in his 39-year career as a head coach, Booker is “one of the best freshmen he’s ever coached.”

Her rise to star player status in just four months of her collegiate career is no surprise to Schaefer or the team, as her talent led the Longhorns to their success this season.

“Her teammates have so much confidence in her,” Schaefer said. “The kid is 18 years old and has the presence of a 25-year-old on the court. She’s comfortable. There’s not a moment too big for her, and I know that her teammates feel that, too. … She’s running the show and leading them.”

The Texas team is on a six-game win streak and currently ranks fifth in the country as they head toward March and post-season play. The Longhorns are looking to accomplish their goals of a Big 12 and National Championship with Booker leading the way. 

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