Longhorns stay optimistic about season to come


Freshman point guard Empress Davenport and the Longhorns endured a tough season, but will hope to rebuild from their young core for next season.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Needless to say, the Longhorns had less than a superb season. But that doesn’t mean some good can’t come out of it.

The young Texas team had a few setbacks early in the year, mainly due to its inexperience. But while its results might not have shown it, the team grew up as the season progressed.

Karen Aston, in her first season as head coach at Texas, was handed a team with seven underclassmen and only three seniors, one of which ended up retiring early in the season. In their last game of the year, three of her five starters were freshmen.

“This is such a young basketball team with people in positions that they haven’t been in before,” Aston said in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. “We take steps forward, and then we take steps back.”

A positive to take away from this bitter season is how these young Longhorns grew up. 

“I don’t think there is a measuring amount for how much they have grown,” Aston said. “We went through several situations this year that you wouldn’t really wish upon any team. They buckled down and started playing for each other, more as a team, and bought into the way that we do things.”

Aston also has some strong recruits coming in for next season with Brianna Taylor, Kelsey Lang, Nekia Jones and Lilley VanderZee already having signed their national letters of intent for next year.

VanderZee, a 6-foot-4-inch post, was the District 7-4A Offensive Player of the Year in her senior season at Granbury High School. Taylor, who averaged 10.4 points per game, is the No. 46 ranked player in the country at her position, according to HoopGurlz.

Aston will have a lot to work with next season with these new star recruits and all but two of her players returning. The athletes who filled up most of the box score will all be coming back for at least one more season, giving the Longhorns a strong chance of making the postseason.

“I’m really proud of the team,” Aston said. “The biggest thing I take from this is the character of the people that we have returning. I think that the fact that we are returning so many people is really a positive.”