Coming off another 20-plus point performance where she connected on a career-high five 3-pointers, sophomore guard Chassidy Fussell knows that it takes more than just a hot shooting night to win games in the Big 12.
“You can play offense all you want,” Fussell said. “But if you don’t get stops you aren’t going to win the game.”
That caveat rings true after the Longhorns’ most recent conference loss to Kansas State. At 3-6 in conference play Texas now finds itself six games behind the Big 12 leader, No. 1 Baylor. The Longhorns have now lost six of their last nine games and are quickly fading from the NCAA Tournament picture.
The next stop on the Longhorns’ schedule takes them to Ames, Iowa to face the Cyclones. The last time these two teams met in Austin on Jan. 18, Texas escaped with a 62-60 win on a buzzer-beating shot from senior guard Yvonne Anderson.
The Cyclones also own a 3-6 record in the Big 12 and, like the Longhorns, have been in some closely contested games lately. The Cyclones’ most recent loss came at the hands of No. 13 Texas A&M. The Aggies were almost upset, but emerged victorious, 66-64. The Cyclones had lost five straight games after the Longhorns ousted them in Austin, but have won three of their last four, so they are starting to figure things out.
“Every team in our league has gone through winning streaks and losing streaks,” said head coach Gail Goestenkors. “You find out what you’re made of when you go through adversity, and this team always responds to adversity.”
Texas has struggled getting the ball to its posts recently, but Goestenkors has made it clear that this will become a focus for her team as the season wears on.
“I think what Coach (Goestenkors) said — having a post presence — is important,” said senior guard Ashleigh Fontenette. “We’re going to have to work on that more.”
The Longhorns held the Cyclones to 35 percent shooting in their first meeting, and will have to keep the Cyclones off the glass if they are to win in Ames. Fussell also scored 20 points in that first matchup Jan. 18, and could be in line for another big night. She’ll need help from Anderson and her post players as well.
“We also have to get to the offensive glass more because offensive rebounds will get you more points as well,” Goestenkors said.
Printed on Friday, February 3, 2012 as: Fussell hopes to lead team out of drought