No. 8 Texas downed Hampton 79-52 on Wednesday night to set up a showdown with unbeaten No. 4 Tennessee in Knoxville on Sunday.
Four Longhorns finished the game with double-digit scoring numbers. Junior guard Brianna Taylor led Texas (4-0) in scoring for the second-straight game.
Taylor notched 16 points and shot 80 percent from the free throw line on a night on which the Longhorns shot 61 percent from the line as a team.
Head coach Karen Aston said Taylor has transitioned from being just a “hyper athlete” to a more well rounded basketball player.
“I try to do what I do best and that is bring energy whenever I can,” Taylor said. “That’s what I bring to this team, and I am starting to get more comfortable in that role.”
Junior center Kelsey Lang connected on a buzzer-beating jumper from the top of the key to give Texas a 23-10 lead and momentum heading into the second quarter.
Senior center Imani Boyette had an especially bright second quarter. Boyette reached 1,000 career points at Texas after an offensive rebound that led to a layup late in the period.
After achieving the milestone, Boyette hustled down the floor and stole a pass. She flicked the ball back to sophomore guard Brooke McCarty at the other end of the court.
McCarty found Taylor driving down the lane, and Taylor laid it in to give Texas a 39-20 lead with just over two minutes to play in the half.
McCarty, the Longhorns’ leading scorer at 16 points per game through the first three games of the season, did not register a single point in the first half.
But she did register four assists in the first two quarters as the Longhorns built a 43-22 lead. The Longhorns had 14 assists as a team on 19 made field goals in the first half.
McCarty finished with only two points, but Texas tripled Hampton’s scoring in the third quarter, 21-7, to push its lead to 64-29 with one quarter to play.
Boyette gave the Longhorns their final points of the quarter before taking a seat. In her 19 minutes, she totaled 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
Senior guard Celina Rodrigo was the only Longhorn starter to see action in the fourth quarter. Hampton outscored Texas 23-15 in the final frame with the Texas starters watching from the bench.
“We have a difficult stretch ahead of us, so I tried to rest some of the starters in the fourth quarter,” Aston said. “It will be very challenging, so I was glad to be able to get them some rest.”
The Longhorns travel to Tennessee to take on the Volunteers on Sunday. They’ll return home Wednesday to host No. 8 Mississippi State.