Only five games into their season, the No. 16 Longhorns continue to use every game as a stepping stone from the previous one.
Reiterating the positives and learning from the mistakes have been some things head coach Gail Goestenkors often reminds her players of, especially after Sunday’s loss against Stanford, 93-78.
No. 2 Stanford (5-0) was the first major hurdle Texas (4-1) faced. The Longhorns, who looked strong in their first four games of the season, struggled against the Cardinal, who relied heavily on man-on-man offense.
The height difference between Texas and Stanford players posed a difficulty for Texas, with only three players measuring above 6 feet. Stanford features eight of these players its roster.
“We’ve pushed the ball on everybody else, but nobody’s pushed it back on us,” Goestenkors said. “That was new for us for somebody to attack us the way we’ve been attacking other people.”
Stanford looked like the stronger team as it shot 54.7 percent and made 11 of 12 free throws.
In an uncommon mistake, Texas failed to turn in its lineup in time to the scorer’s table, resulting in a technical foul. Stanford went up 2-0 before tipoff.
Texas also started slow, allowing Stanford to make 14 of its first 22 shots.
“Today you saw a toughness out of us and a will to persevere,” said Stanford forward Kayla Pedersen. “I think people are just learning their roles and learning how they can play with each other, and we’re a lot more confident right now.”
Freshman Chassidy Fussell led Texas with 17 points. Senior Kathleen Nash trailed close behind with 14 points.
“They beat us in transition and on the offensive glass,” Goestenkors said. “We got them to take tough shots at times, but we didn’t rebound.”
With Stanford being the first of a tough stretch of opponents, Texas will return to Austin for a week before traveling to East Lansing this weekend to take on No. 25 Michigan State.
“We are going to learn a lot through this game. We let them dictate the tempo,” Goestenkors said. “We’ve got all week to break down the tape and learn and get better. And we can see very quickly how much we learned because we’ve got another great team we are playing [Sunday].”