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’s season ends falling to North Carolina State in Elite Eight

Lorianne Willett
Guard Shaylee Gonzalez on March 22, 2024. Texas played Drexel during the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament.

The seconds ticked away in the fourth quarter, and graduate guard Shaylee Gonzales could only look on from the bench. The leader who had been so crucial for the Longhorns couldn’t do anything but watch as the season slowly came to an end. 

Gonzales fouled out earlier in the quarter and the emotion poured from her eyes as soon as she sat. As the final buzzer sounded, cementing Texas’ loss to the NC State Wolf Pack 76-66, she once again cried into a towel. Gonzales knew it would end one day, that day being soon, but she hoped it would end with confetti raining down, crowning her a national champion. 

Texas outscored the Wolf Pack 35-33 in the second half yet in the first half, NC State started their scoring quickly and in a flurry. Junior guard Aziaha James was lights out from beyond the arc going 5-5 from the three point line, and at the end of the half, James had 21 points. Texas faced one of their largest deficits of the season in the second quarter down 18 with 3:02 left to play. The Longhorns showed true ‘Texas Fight’ in the second half but their slow start put Texas in too deep of a hole in an uncharacteristic performance from many key players. 

“Sometimes these things happen,” Head Coach Vic Schaefer said. “This was probably the worst we’ve played in two months. We smoked a lot of really good looks in the first half.”

The “looks” Schaefer referred to were shots Texas had knocked down all season. In the first half, freshman forward Madison Booker shot 4-13 from the field. Throughout the season, Booker was one of the shining bright spots on offense, averaging 16.5 points a game and converting on nearly half of her shots. Instead of focusing on the shortcomings of the season, Booker chose to reflect on how much the team has overcome. 

“We kept fighting the odds, and we made people believe,” Booker said. 

Gonzales’ running mate was senior guard Shay Holle who ended the night with 12 points and five rebounds. Holle single-handedly kept Texas in the game down the stretch, leading the Longhorns in scoring in the third quarter. Tears streamed down her face as she spoke about the season she shared with Gonzales. 

“Me and her get shots up every day together,” Holle said before taking a moment to wipe away her tears and trying to gather her emotions. “So we’ll definitely miss her, but I’m super proud of her.” 

Texas’ style of play relies on their bigger players like senior forward Taylor Jones and senior forward Aaliyah Moore to establish strong positions near the basket in an effort to slow the game down. The three ball is not a large part of their offense and against the Wolf Pack, this hurt the Longhorns. In the second half, Texas started to slowly cut into the deficit getting as close as six. However, Texas simply ran out of time before the Longhorns could reclaim the lead. Moore’s play landed her on the All-Tournament Team but the award is solely a consolation prize for the senior. 

“That’s great, we did win though,” Moore said. “That was the overall goal coming into this tournament. … It’s hard.”

During his press conference, Schaefer “called his shot” about being in the tournament once again and making it just as far, if not further next year. 

“We’ll be back. I can say that with great confidence,” Schaefer said. “The class that we have coming in, Rori (Harmon) back healthy, and everybody else a year older and a year wiser, I’ll be sitting here next March 31.”

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About the Contributors
Emmanuel Ramirez, Senior Audio Producer
Emmanuel Ramirez is a journalism junior from Brownsville, Texas. Currently he works as the senior audio producer for Texan Overtime and previously was a general audio staffer. He enjoys throwing down on the grill and playing Smash Bros.
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.