Compare the Longhorns’ play this month to that of last month and it will seem as if something doesn’t really add up. But don’t be fooled by Texas, the current holder of a five-game conference winning streak. It did start Big 12 play at 0-4.
“We are playing with more confidence now,” said Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors.
Continually working out the kinks that plagued them in early January has built Texas’ (16-7, 5-4 Big 12) confidence.
In two of their last five victories, the Longhorns have successfully entered the opposition’s home turf and exited victorious.
After the squad’s most recent win over Kansas State, Goestenkors gave her squad a unique title.
“We call ourselves road warriors, and we want to be streak breakers,” Goestenkors said. “We beat Texas Tech when they had not lost at home, and we wanted to come and give K-State their first loss at home as well.”
The Longhorns’ win earlier this week snapped the Wildcats’ five-game conference winning streak and perfect season record at home.
For the first time this season, Texas sits above .500 in conference standings.
The Longhorns are hardly resting on their laurels with another win tucked into their belts. The squad heads to top-ranked Baylor on Saturday for a rematch of an earlier season game in which the Bears withstood the Longhorns by a count of 87-72.
The Jan. 12 loss was the second of what would become Texas’ four-game losing streak in conference play. At the half, the Longhorns were down by only two points against the Bears, 32-30. But Baylor hammered the nail into Texas’ coffin during the second half as their defense stepped up, never allowing Texas back into the game.
In their last five games, Texas’ opponents have averaged 60 points per game, with none scoring more than 68 points.
Baylor (22-1, 9-0 Big 12) currently holds the longest active win streak in NCAA Division I at 19 games.
Led this season by sophomore Brittney Griner’s 22.1 points per game and eight rebounds, the Bears are shooting .479 for the season. Baylor has not allowed their opponents to shoot 50 percent in 160 straight games, winning eight of their nine league games by 12 points or more.
For Texas, preparing for Baylor means taking into consideration the many little components that have aided their victories — rebounding, steals and accurate shooting.
Winning the rebounding battle for a second consecutive game Wednesday has been crucial for Texas.
In the Longhorns’ game against Baylor earlier in the season, freshman Chassidy Fussell scored 25 points but senior Kathleen Nash failed to score at all for her team.
Fussell has continued her scoring charge this season as she most recently scored 19 points against K-State, her 21st double-digit scoring effort this season.
The Longhorns outrebounded Kansas last Saturday 44-33 and K-State on Wednesday by a count of 36-28. The squad is 13-2 when outrebounding their opponent.
“We are trying to take pride in some of the little things that hopefully will make a difference,” Goestenkors said.