Seniors reflect, ready for final stretch

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Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

For seniors Ebony Nwanebu and Chiaka Ogbogu, every play on the court together is precious.

The teammates’ paths crossed long before they stepped onto the 40 Acres, sharing the court in club play at the age of 15 in Fort Worth. And now almost seven years later, their journey is reaching its final chapter.

With only two matches remaining in the regular season, Nwanebu and Ogbogu reflected on their time at Texas. It’s a journey that neither player expected when they committed to play for the Longhorns.

After turning in one of the best performances of her career in a game against Nebraska in 2015, Nwanebu suffered a back injury that sidelined her for the remainder of her sophomore year.

In 2016, Ogbogu missed her senior year due to academic ineligibility, putting her career on hold.

Now the two seniors are back on the court together for the first time in two years, ready for one last run.

“It feels like fate,” Nwanebu said. “I don’t think any of this is a coincidence. I think all of this is happening for a reason, and that’s to win a championship.”

It’s a goal that has eluded the pair since they first donned the burnt orange. The past two seasons saw Texas come up short of a national championship, falling on the NCAA’s biggest stage each time.

But with Texas primed for another postseason run, the two will now look to finish on top as the Longhorns ride a 16-game win streak into the homestretch of the regular season.

“It would mean a lot to myself and (Nwanebu) to win this championship,” Ogbogu said. “Our story just comes together so perfectly.”

That run begins with a key rivalry matchup against Oklahoma on Wednesday, where the Longhorns will look to claim sole possession of the Big 12 title, and a chance to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament beginning Nov. 30.

Emotions are sure to run high in what might be the pair’s final home game.

“I don’t really know how to feel,” Nwanebu said. “It could be our last game at Gregory, and that makes me sad.”

Gregory Gym has provided Texas with a strong home-court advantage all season long, and an extra set of games in front of the Longhorn faithful could prove key as the team aims for a title. But for Nwanebu and Ogbogu, any additional games on the 40 Acres would mean so much more.

“To at least play another four games at Gregory would be great,” Nwanebu said. “I’m not ready to say goodbye.”

Texas is slated to host Oklahoma at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by a road match at Baylor on Saturday to close out the regular season.