In the last four weeks, the Texas women’s basketball team has played eight games. That averages out to two games per week on top of practices and school obligations. Five of the past seven have been on the road, testing the Longhorns’ endurance over the last month.
After starting off conference play with a 1–2 record, the team has given itself a huge boost to its tournament hopes with a five-game winning streak, the most recent of which came against rival Oklahoma. However, the team has had little time to rest.
“It’s been a long month,” head coach Karen Aston said. “We were just talking the other day about the TCU game, which was our opener in Big 12 play, and one of the coaches said that seemed like two years ago. It’s been a month of a lot of games. We’ve had a lot stuffed in here a few
Friday’s game will mark the last of nine games Texas will have played over a 28-day span. That gauntlet will end with the Longhorns’ greatest conference test yet, as the No. 2 Baylor Bears will enter town with an 18–1 record.
The Longhorns have not had much success against Baylor in recent years, losing 19 of the last 20 meetings. To their credit, no one else in the Big 12 has either. In the last decade, the Bears have dropped just seven conference games, having gone undefeated in conference play four times. Texas will have to look past the past to prove themselves in the present.
“We don’t talk about the past a whole lot.… That’s not the same team that it was, nor is this the same team that played last year,” Aston said. “We have a lot of players that haven’t played Baylor or anybody else in our league for that matter … It’s almost a teaching lesson every time we go out in Big 12 play.”
All hope is not lost, however, as Texas has the ability to take down top teams. They’ve proven it on multiple occasions this year with a road win at then-No. 17 Tennessee and an upset of then-No. 1 Stanford at home.
“Us beating Stanford, playing against Stanford, competing against Stanford, it made us realize that we can compete against top teams,” senior guard Sug Sutton said. “(In) women’s basketball, everyone’s pretty equal, so we’re coming into the game (Friday) with a huge mindset and just trying to be aggressive from the jump.”
The Bears boast a balanced team scoring-wise, with five players averaging at least 11.7 points per game, and are deadly in every facet of the game. They received all possible first-place votes in the Big 12 preseason poll. But for the Longhorns, Friday’s matchup is just a test between two teams positioned for postseason runs.
“I think that you’re just really trying to build towards tournament play,” Aston said. “Are you trending up, down? Are you getting in a position where you know how to prepare yourself for those tournament games?”