After being criticized by head coach Karen Aston for sloppy play and a lack of mental toughness, the Longhorns will make the trek to the Lubbock to not only get another Big 12 win, but to correct their play from Wednesday night.
Texas goes into Saturday’s game with a 16–3 record after beating Kansas at the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday. Despite the lopsided 62-43 outcome, the Longhorns weren’t as dominant as the score would’ve suggested.
“I don’t have an explanation for the way we played offensively,” Aston said.
Texas shot an abysmal one-for-nine from beyond the three-point line. Aston’s criticisms were mainly about the style of play because the numbers suggest that everything was perfectly fine.
At one point in the game, the Longhorns were up by 17 until Kansas went on a run and cut the lead down to nine. This came much to the dismay of Aston, who has consistently and openly discussed her team’s ability to put teams away.
“When you have a lead, you really have to punch somebody in the mouth,” Aston said prior to the matchup.
With the challenge by Aston issued and subsequently unfulfilled by her team, the Red Raiders are next in line for Texas to try and put away.
As for the Red Raiders, they come limping into the game. Texas Tech is last in the Big 12 with a conference record of 1–6, with their only win coming against fellow basement-dweller Kansas.
The past three games in particular have been a rough stretch for the Red Raiders. They’ve lost each game by a combined 15 points.
“They’re right there,” Texas Tech head coach Marlene Stollings told reporters after Wednesday’s loss to West Virginia. “We’re certainly not into moral victories, but we’re so close. The door’s going to open up for us here soon.”
One of the ways Texas Tech can force the door open for a win is on the offensive glass. The Red Raiders lead the Big 12 in offensive rebounds with nearly 17 per game. While Texas is tied for second in the conference in the same category, Aston identified offensive rebounding as a weak point for her Longhorns, particularly in the Kansas game.
“The offensive rebounds were a problem,” Aston said. “Giving up 18 is way too many.”
If the Red Raiders are able to impose any type of will on the Longhorns, the outcome of the game could look very different than the expectation coming into the matchup.
This game serves as another stepping stone for the Longhorns. While it is a game that would seem like a “walk in the park,” an argument can be made that Texas still has not played a complete game from buzzer-to-buzzer in Big 12 play. It’s an opportunity for Texas to play up to its potential in a meaningful conference game and right some wrongs from its previous outing.
Texas will try to improve its road record to 5–1 against Texas Tech on Saturday at 12 p.m. in Lubbock.