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 2024-25 season preview

Skyler Sharp
Head coach Vic Schaefer talks with his team on March 24, 2024, after the Longhorns beat Alabama in the second round of the March Madness tournament.

Texas head coach Vic Schaefer’s women’s basketball team is heading into the three-time consecutive national champion conference, the SEC. 

The Longhorns’ last season in the Big 12 turned upside down when then-junior point guard Rori Harmon suffered an ACL tear early in the season. Freshman forward Madison Booker had to step outside of her comfort zone into the point guard role and did so in a way that most wouldn’t guess was her first time in the position.

Heading into the SEC, a likely healthy Harmon will join a more confident Booker to, hopefully, bring a new dangerous duo to the roster. Other key players in the 2023-24 season were senior forward DeYona Gaston, who was named Big 12 Sixth Player of the Year after her impact off the bench, and graduate guard Shaylee Gonzales.

During the off-season, Gaston announced she would not be wearing burnt orange again, and transferred to Auburn. Gonzales used her last year of eligibility to play professionally in Mexico.

Though Texas lost some names, a remarkable class of freshmen will be stepping into the Moody Center for the first time. Forward Justice Carlton and guard Jordan Lee ranked No. 7 and No. 8 overall in their recruiting class, respectively, and according to Schaefer, they are college-ready. 

Texas’ conference play in the SEC is set to start on Jan. 2, 2025, while non-conference games, including the SEC/ACC Challenge matchup against Notre Dame, will take place in the later months of 2024. If everything goes right for the Longhorns, the conference tournament will be played in Greenville, South Carolina, from March 5-9, 2025. 

The single, round-robin schedule consists of 14 home or away games, meaning each team will be played once, either at Moody Center or on the road. In the conference, programs only play twice against one team, for Texas, that will be the reigning national champion, South Carolina.

South Carolina’s head coach Dawn Staley’s team has lost a key player in center, Kamilla Cardoso, who was the third selection in the 2024 WNBA Draft. However, the team remains strong, with fifth-year guard Te-Hina PaoPao and junior guard Raven Johnson returning to South Carolina for another season. 

South Carolina will arguably be the biggest challenger in the Longhorns’ season, and it’s one they will have to face twice.

Kim Mulkey’s LSU is not far behind in team strength. Mulkey knows Texas very well, having coached Baylor for 21 seasons, and her roster is one to watch out for. The Longhorns will be facing the likes of junior guard Flau’jae Johnson, senior guard Aneesah Morrow and senior guard Last-Tear Poa at home, in what should be a very lively crowd. 

Besides the last two national champions, the SEC features other strong programs. Texas will be facing Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Alabama at the Moody Center for a rematch of the second-round game of the 2024 NCAA Tournament won by Texas.

Texas will hit the road to face Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. The Sooners were the only team to beat the Longhorns twice in the 2023-24 season and won the Big 12 regular season title. 

Schaefer’s team will be reuniting with a couple of former players both at home and on the road. Against Florida in Austin, they will reunite with ex-leading scorer Aliyah Matharu, while former forward DeYona Gaston will see her old teammates when they travel to Auburn. 

Schaefer coached Mississippi State for eight years. His daughter and current Texas assistant coach Blair Schaefer played for the Bulldogs for four. 

The Longhorns are ranked No. 6 behind South Carolina in ESPN’s early pre-season rankings.

Texas has not yet finalized its non-conference schedule. Schaefer told the Austin American-Statesman that he plans on starting the season against Michigan in Las Vegas and heading to DePaul for a road game. 

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