ESPN basketball analyst LaChina Robinson called No. 8 Texas “the hottest team in the nation.” Her assessment stands tough to question given the run that head coach Karen Aston’s squad has put together.
The Longhorns earned NCAA Team of the Week honors for a trio of wins over the past eight days, including Monday’s double-overtime upset against No. 4 Florida State.
Texas continues conference play on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Norman, Okla., looking to use the momentum of a 19-game win streak to capture its first road win against the Sooners since February 2010.
“We’re really in tune with each other right now,” junior guard Brooke McCarty said in her interview with Robinson on ESPN earlier this week. “If you watch us on the court, you can tell that we’re really just feeding off of each other and feeding off each other’s energy.”
McCarty’s performance has been nothing short of spectacular throughout the season, ranking fourth in the Big 12 in three-point percentage and second in assist-to-turnover ratio — a statistic Aston highlighted as a key to the team’s elevated play.
“I really think our biggest growth has been our understanding of the assist-turnover ratio and our improvement in that area,” Aston said. “It’s been dramatic; probably the last five or six games, it’s really
McCarty has been the driving force behind much of the recent success, both as Texas’ primary ball handler and team leader in minutes played. The junior boasts a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio while pouring in a team-high 14.5 points per contest.
No. 19 Oklahoma enters Saturday’s matchup with a four-game win streak and sits at third in the Big 12 with an 11–3 record. The two programs met for the first time this season at the Frank Erwin Center, where freshman guard/forward Joyner Holmes bullied her way to 20 points and 10 rebounds en route to an 86-68 victory. Texas closed the game on a 20-4 run after leading by a single basket with under five minutes left in regulation.
The matchup will mark the Longhorns’ third game against a top-20 team in their last four outings. With only four games left in the regular season, a win in Norman pushes Texas to the brink of completing the first conference sweep in program history.
Looking back on their tumultuous 2–4 start, the now 21–4 Longhorns recognize the value of the rigorous non-conference schedule in preparing them for a drawn out season. In her interview with Robinson, McCarty acknowledged the role those early losses had in forcing the young team to improve quickly.
“I think those games were really beneficial to us in the offseason, because they kind of got us ready for conference play and got us ready to play those big teams we have coming ahead,” McCarty said.