The Longhorns had high hopes of taking down top-ranked Baylor on Saturday night but saw an all too familiar scene play out as they fell once again in Big 12 play.
Texas (9-13, 2-9 Big 12) kept it close through the first half but was unable to keep the game from getting out of hand as No. 1 Baylor (22-1, 12-0 Big 12) took a dominating 75-48 win at the Frank Erwin Center.
The freshman duo of Imani McGee-Stafford and Empress Davenport led the Longhorns with 13 points apiece. McGee-Stafford also tallied a career-high 18 rebounds while matched up against the All-American Brittney Griner.
“It’s a typical Baylor performance where they are dominating on the defensive end, in my opinion,” head coach Karen Aston said. “I am really proud of our team’s effort. I’m proud that these two freshmen showed that they are willing to compete in this league.”
Before settling down, the Longhorns got out to a 5-0 lead to start the game. They were able to control the 6-foot-8-inch Griner as they threw everything they had at the star. She was held to two points and no rebounds in just nine minutes of play in the first half.
McGee-Stafford did her job in stopping the former AP National Player of the Year.
“I thought [Stafford’s play] was really good,” Aston said. “I’m proud of her effort. I thought she was tremendous on the boards. I thought she competed on every possession. But what I hope she learns is that the position that Brittney gets herself in on offense is where I want Imani to get.”
The Los Angeles native took the game to use Griner as a foresight to where she can be in the future.
“I think the most important thing I can say is that this was a learning experience,” McGee-Stafford said. “Brittney Griner for me is like a human measuring stick. I get to see how far I have progressed from now. Being 6-foot-7, I got compared to her a lot in high school. I was just excited to play her and see how far I can progress.”
Other than that there wasn’t much comparing of the two teams on the court. With 15:05 to go in the game, Griner took an inbound pass, dribbled a few steps into a two-handed dunk, ending all momentum Texas had.
“It gave us some energy,” Griner said. “It got us pumped up and helped us keep making a run. It energized us.”
The Longhorns once again lost the turnover battle, committing 15 in the first half and 25 on the night. Baylor put pressure on the ball and denied all passing lanes for Texas, causing bad decision-making.
Despite this, Aston was happy with how her team, aiming to pull off a major upset, prepared for this game. While it didn’t work out as she hoped for the young squad, Aston wants this attitude to continue in the future.
“More than anything, and what I told them in the locker room is, I would love to see our team prepare and compete on a daily basis the way that we did for this game,” Aston said. “I think if we would begin to understand that’s the preparation it takes every single day in the Big 12, then we will begin to get somewhere.”
Published on February 11, 2013 as "Longhorns can't upset No.1 Baylor".