For the third time in the new year, the Longhorns went on the road, but this is the first time they left with a loss on their record. While no loss is ideal, this one was particularly bad. Texas left Manhattan with a 87-69 defeat.
Kansas State went into this game with only one win in conference play, but nobody would’ve guessed that by watching the Wildcats on Wednesday night. They were able to take a page out of Texas’ book by playing stifling defense and were dominant from the opening tip, never trailing throughout the game.
The Wildcats, who were coming off a tough loss to in-state rival Kansas, were able shake off any unsettled feelings in the matchup against Texas — a must-win if they didn’t want to fall too far behind in the Big 12 standings.
“We gave them confidence,” head coach Karen Aston said. ”That’s what happens when you give a home team confidence.”
Kansas State was able to ride that confidence from an early lead to a subsequent win.
As for Texas’ defense, it was left in Austin. Texas allowed Kansas State to shoot 50 percent from the field in the first half, a deciding factor in the outcome of the game. The Longhorns gave up 23 points in the first quarter, which matched their own output for the entire first half.
“Our lack of cohesiveness defensively let them get off to a positive start,” Aston said. “They were confident about the way they were playing, and it snowballed on us.”
Texas tried to make it a game coming out of halftime, cutting the lead to 12 out of the gate. Its bravado out of the locker room was short-lived, though, as Kansas State pushed their lead to 19 and cruised to victory.
“I expected them to be motivated after their loss to Kansas,” Aston said. “I don’t think (we) were as competitive as we needed to be.”
With the defense being a problem, it seemed like a time for forward senior Olamide Aborowa to step in and help close the floodgates. However, Aborowa only played eight minutes — the second-lowest on the team. She had been an integral part of the Longhorns’ defense in the past couple of games, serving as an anchor.
When asked about why Aborowa didn’t play much tonight, Aston was honest and concise.
“I wasn’t pleased with how she practiced the last couple of days,” Aston said.
As for the rest of the team, guards Sug Sutton and Danni Williams played nearly the whole game. They were the only two players on Texas’ side to score in double figures. The play of the two has picked up and as a result, Sutton and Williams have become the consistent offensive weapons the Longhorns have been searching for all year.
It’s unlike Texas to lay an egg like it did Wednesday. This game is just a measuring stick showing how much the Longhorns still need to grow to reach their goal of being conference champions. After tonight, there is a lot to figure out.
“We will get on the plane and go back to the drawing board,” Aston said.
Texas will be able to try to get back on track Saturday when it hosts TCU.