Things got ugly — quickly. And this time there wasn’t an invigorating run to save Texas from a humiliating end result.
By the end of Monday’s game at Baylor, the Longhorns walked off the court with a 64-35 loss.
After the opening minutes of the first quarter went by, it seemed as if the game would be a close, tough-nosed battle, specifically between Baylor center Kalani Brown and Texas center Jatarie White. However, as more time ticked away, the path of the game revealed itself.
The Longhorns clawed their way back into the game near the end of the first half, but right when Texas had Bears fans holding their breath, Baylor turned up its intensity and ended the half on a 9-0 run to stretch its lead to 27-16.
“I think our team played competitively for 20 minutes,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “We just kind of gave in a little bit.”
While Texas remained close, the scoring effort left room for improvement as the Longhorns shot under 23 percent in both first half quarters. It highlighted Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey’s nearly flawless defensive plan, which forced Texas into 10 first-quarter turnovers.
The Texas guard trio of Sug Sutton, Danni Williams and Destiny Littleton felt the force of Mulkey’s defensive game plan the most as they combined to shoot 3-of-21 from the field.
“As good as Kalani was, I thought the difference in the game was the passiveness of our guards,” Aston said. “I was really disappointed by that.”
For Texas, this is its fifth conference loss and its seventh overall. In their losses, the main areas of weakness have been consistent. The Longhorns haven’t found a way to combat their turnovers and poor three-point shooting.
“We just weren’t aggressive,” Sutton said. “We weren’t attacking the basket. We weren’t doing the things that we’ve worked on all year.”
The lack of aggressiveness manifested into periods throughout the game in when Texas failed to score at all. One of those stretches lasted over 11 minutes.
“I didn’t know that (about Texas’ scoring drought),” Mulkey said. “I’m focused on what we’re doing, who’s needs to be on the floor.”
Four of the five starters for the Bears scored in double figures — three of whom shot at least 50 percent.
Baylor was once again led by the dominating nature of Brown, who added 19 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs.
Brown’s performance helped the Bears dominate Texas on the inside, outscoring the Longhorns by a 36-18 margin. Along with the noticeable difference in paint scoring, Baylor blocked 10 of the Longhorns’ shots.
“Three straight years we’ve led the country in field goal percentage defense,” Mulkey said. “It doesn’t get talked about much because it’s ugly.”
Monday was as bad as it could be for Texas. Its 20 percent field goal percentage combined with its abysmal 41 percent from the free throw line compounded into its most forgettable performance of the season.
With no field goals made in the final three minutes and only one made shot out of their last 10 attempts, the Longhorns walked off the floor after a conclusive beatdown, leaving major questions about what’s next for Texas.