Longhorns look to bounce back in home opener

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Junior guard Brooke McCarty and the Longhorns take on Houston Baptist on Wednesday in their home opener.
Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff

The No. 8 Longhorns look to bounce back Wednesday following a stagnant defensive performance in their season-opening loss to No. 11 Stanford Monday night.

Texas faces a quick turnaround as it hosts Houston Baptist on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Frank Erwin Center for its home debut. 

The matchup marks the first-ever meeting between the two programs and just the third time the Huskies have played against a ranked opponent in the last 10 seasons. Houston Baptist enters the matchup coming off a 118-43 blowout loss to No. 2 Baylor in its season opener on Friday in Waco.

Following the Longhorns’ 71-59 loss to the Cardinals, head coach Karen Aston said some of her preseason concerns became reality in Palo Alto, California, especially on the defensive end.     

“Some of the things that I saw tonight were really what I’ve been afraid of,” Aston said. “We haven’t executed things in practice the way that we need to.” 

Texas allowed a break-out performance from Stanford guard Brittany McPhee, who scored a career-high 28 points and exploited the Longhorn defense from start to finish. Aston said her team needs to be more disciplined on the court and go back to the drawing board to make necessary changes in practice. 

“We went through a stretch [against Stanford] where we fouled too much,” Aston said. “We went through a stretch where we weren’t helping each other defensively … It looked actually a little similar to some stuff I’ve been seeing in practice that has really concerned me.”

Junior guards Brooke McCarty and Ariel Atkins were the only two Texas players to score in double figures against the Cardinal, notching 20 and 14 points, respectively. 

Texas’ Wednesday morning matchup against Houston Baptist is part of Texas Athletics’ annual 40 Acres Field Trip experience, where kids from elementary and middle schools across Central Texas come to campus to experience college athletics with free admission to the game. 

“It’s always fun to play in this [field trip] game,” Aston said in a statement.

The Longhorns have four more ranked opponents on their non-conference schedule, including an Elite Eight rematch against No. 3 Connecticut on Dec. 4. They hope to work out some of their kinks against Houston Baptist before their marquee matchups in the next few weeks.