Karen Aston

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

After three seasons as a Texas assistant coach, Tina Thompson has been named the head coach of the Virginia women’s basketball team.

Tuesday’s announcement ends the Cavaliers’ 27-day search for a new head coach after Joanne Boyle stepped down from the position on March 20 due to a family matter. Thompson will now take over a program that boasts three NCAA Final Four appearances in its 44-year history.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to become the next women’s basketball coach at the University of Virginia,” Thompson said in a statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a program with such a rich history. This program is in an exciting place with a hardworking group of young ladies. It is my intention to continue the winning ways coach Joanne Boyle has built with this impressionable group.”

The hiring marks the next chapter for a person who has succeeded on every level. After being selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Comets in the 1997 inaugural WNBA Draft, the USC alumna led the Comets to four straight WNBA championships in her first four seasons.

Thompson won on a global stage as well, claiming gold in both the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. After a 17-year career of shattering records and hanging up banners, Thompson retired in 2014 as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 7,488 points.

Those accomplishments were recognized on March 31 when Thompson was announced as an inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I am thrilled to have Tina Thompson as our new women’s basketball coach,” Virginia athletic director Carla Williams said. “She is one of the best to ever play the game, and she has experienced tremendous success at all levels of the game.”

After being hired as an assistant coach at Texas on May 18, 2015, Thompson used her experience to help develop players such as Imani McGee-Stafford and Ariel Atkins, both of whom later became top-10 picks in the WNBA draft.

“She has a strong commitment to and passion for developing confident, successful women,” Williams said. “As a coach, she has proven to be a tremendous teacher and recruiter. I’m excited for the future of our program.”

Thompson has been open about her desire to eventually become a head coach over the past few seasons. Now the WNBA legend will get that shot, and she credits Texas head coach Karen Aston for helping launch her coaching career.

“I am forever grateful for the opportunity Karen Aston and the University of Texas provided me,” Thompson said. “My experience there has helped to prepare me for this moment. I want to thank Carla Williams for this coveted opportunity.”

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Ariel Atkins gave her all to the Longhorns’ program, even down to the last second.

The senior guard walked off the court of the Sprint Center after Friday’s season-ending loss to 3-seeded UCLA in the NCAA Tournament, knowing it was the last time she’d don the burnt orange and white she’d worn with such pride over the past four years.

The journey concluded as Texas fell, 84-75, in a game that was an uphill battle the whole way through.

The Bruins outplayed the Longhorns from the opening tip, employing a full-court press that forced seven Texas turnovers in the first quarter. Even when they could break the press, the Longhorns couldn’t buy a basket as they shot an abysmal 5-for-16. UCLA capitalized on the sluggish start, claiming a 19-11 lead at the end of the first.

“We were a little uncharacteristic with the basketball,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “We just had inopportune turnovers, obviously way too many, (early on). You have to give UCLA a lot of credit.”

That lead ballooned to 11 for the Bruins in the second quarter with 3:28 remaining. Every attempt by Texas to chip away at the lead was answered by a UCLA run as the Bruins took a 39-31 advantage into the half.

Texas retreated to its locker room, just two quarters away from seeing its season come to an abrupt end. But Atkins held her head high as she prepared to come back out for the start of the second half.

She wasn’t going down without a fight.

Atkins set the tone in the third quarter, starting it off with a corner three that ignited the Longhorn bench. The senior guard then delivered on the defensive end, stealing the ball and dishing a no-look assist to junior forward Jatarie White on the fastbreak.

Texas rallied behind its senior leader, igniting a 14-3 run to claim a 45-42 lead with 6:50 remaining in the third — its first lead of the game.

“Our message at halftime was to stick to our game,” Atkins said. “We hadn’t played our type of basketball in the first half, but I feel like in the third quarter we found a flow.”

But UCLA held its composure, responding with a back-breaking 17-4 run to take a commanding 59-49 lead entering the final quarter of play.

Desperate to keep her season — and her career — alive, Atkins kept fighting.

The 5-foot-11 guard kicked off the final quarter by sinking a contested layup, trimming the lead to eight. She found her way into the paint once more on the following possession, snagging an offensive board and finishing from close range.

Once again the Bruins didn’t budge, extending the lead back to double digits thanks to UCLA’s Jordin Canada. The Longhorns had no answer for the senior guard as she torched Texas for 20 points in the second half.

“In the second half, (Canada) just decided to take over,” senior guard Brooke McCarty said. “When she gets going, it’s going to be a tough matchup. She really managed the game well.”

With just eight seconds remaining in the game, UCLA secured the final rebound and began to dribble the clock out. Atkins full-court pressed until the buzzer sounded.

Atkins totaled 11 points in the final quarter, finishing with a team-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds in the loss.

The heartbreaking defeat marked the final chapter for a player who led the Longhorns to four straight Sweet 16 appearances, establishing a standard for the program for years to come.

“I’m extremely blessed to have had this opportunity,” Atkins said. “God opened up a lot of doors for me since I’ve been here. Now the stage is set for our younger players to take off. They know what they need to do.”

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

No. 2-seeded Texas cruised to an 83-54 victory over No. 15-seeded Maine on Saturday evening in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. With the win, the Longhorns will take on No. 7-seeded Arizona State on Monday at 8 p.m.

Here are four takeaways from Saturday’s game:

Longhorns box out

Texas used every inch of its reach advantage to build a 43-12 advantage on the boards. Maine never grabbed more than two rebounds in a single quarter.

Sophomore guard Blanca Millan secured the first board of the game for the Black Bears at the 2:17 mark in the first quarter. By the end of the quarter, sophomore forward Joyner Holmes had more rebounds (five) than Maine’s entire team (two).

Texas head coach Karen Aston emphasized to her team before the game how important winning the rebounding battle would be.

“That was one of the things that we actually had on the (team’s) board,” junior guard Lashann Higgs said. “It was like ‘rebound,’ with an exclamation mark, so we knew exactly what we tried to do was rebound.”

Brooke McCarty takes it easy

Brooke McCarty tied with Holmes for a team-high seven rebounds. But she didn’t show the same aggression on offense.

The senior guard didn’t take a shot until late in the second quarter. McCarty knocked down a trey off a dime from junior forward Olamide Aborowa with four seconds left in the half. She didn’t take her next shot until the 7:47 mark in the fourth quarter.

McCarty finished the game with seven points on 2-of-3 shooting and two assists. Aston was still pleased with the point guard’s performance, especially on the boards.

“I love point guards that rebound,” Aston said. “She's discovered ways to maneuver and pick up the loose ones when people box out. But I do love point guards that rebound, because we like to transition and it obviously starts your transition game if your point guard already has the ball in her hands.”

Ariel Atkins is made for March

Senior guard Ariel Atkins had much more success on offense. She hunted for open looks and knocked them down at every turn. She drained a triple from the right corner in Texas’ first possession of the game and never looked back.

Atkins finished the game with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep. She was just as effective in everything else, racking up four rebounds, four assists and two steals. She hopes the performance carries over moving forward in the NCAA Tournament.

“I think it gives us a good amount of confidence,” Atkins said. “I think the confidence comes from knowing what we did. We focused on their tendencies and what they did well. And I think we actually used our preparation and listened to our coaches and we stuck with the game plan. I think that's where the confidence comes from.”

So much for trimming the rotation

Aston knows she’ll need to cut down on her bench minutes at some point during the NCAA Tournament. But as long as her team can build a lead, as it did against Maine, she’s happy to give her starters a rest.

“We were able, luckily, in the Big 12 Tournament to play a lot of people because we did have a lead in both games where we were able to do that,” Aston said at Texas’ pregame press conference on Friday. “I mean, the rotation trims in tournament play. I think that's a realistic statement. I think the bigger key is just getting everybody prepared, even if it's a minute or two.”

Texas led 23-8 by the end of the first quarter, and Aston turned to her substitutes. The bench players combined for 128 minutes and 19 points. Each player was on the floor for at least 12 minutes.

“You just don't ever know when your number's going to get called in NCAA Tournament play,” Aston said after the game. “So I think it was very good for everyone to get some playing time and get their feet wet with the NCAA Tournament.”

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

Ariel Atkins jogged onto the court at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday determined to survive.

For four years the senior guard had given the Texas program everything she had. Now she found herself in what could be the final chapter of her collegiate career, taking on 15-seeded Maine in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Saturday would not be the end, though, as Atkins willed the Longhorns to a statement 83-54 win in a game that was over from the jump.

“I was very pleased with how we started the game,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “I thought that our team was very locked in. We paid attention to detail, shot the ball well and did a lot of things really sharply.”

Atkins set the tone in the opening quarter, sinking an uncontested three from the corner on Texas’ first possession. It took just two minutes for her to get the ball behind the arc again — this time drilling the long-range bomb right in front of an outstretched Maine defender.

But Atkins wasn’t finished. The Duncanville, Texas, native soared to the rim among the bigs with 4:34 left, snagging an offensive rebound and converting on the easy putback to give Texas a 14-6 lead.

Maine head coach Amy Vachon burned the Black Bears’ first timeout shortly afterward, desperate to get her team back on track.

It didn’t work. The Longhorns closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to take a commanding 23-8 lead.

“We definitely knew that we needed to be focused,” Atkins said. “We knew what (Maine) was capable of doing, so that was important for us (early on).”

Texas fed off Atkins’ intensity, opening up a 56-24 lead by the midway point of the third quarter. Atkins kept attacking, pulling up on a fastbreak and draining a shot from the free throw line.

The senior called for the ball once again on the following possession, drifting to the corner and hitting on a mid-range jumper to give the Longhorns a 60-26 advantage with 4:44 to go in the third.

Atkins’ night came to a close with 4:53 left in the fourth quarter as Aston subbed out her starters. The Longhorns finished the game with ease.

Atkins totaled 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the victory. Junior forward Jatarie White also had a strong outing, posting a game-high 17 points in 20 minutes.

The win is a strong start to the tournament for a Texas team that enters the postseason clicking on all cylinders.

“We definitely are playing as more of a team,” junior guard Lashann Higgs said. “That’s something that we’ve been working on throughout the season. It’s been a fun year.”

The road to Texas’ first Final Four appearance since 2003 continues on Monday as the Longhorns host 7-seeded Arizona State at 8 p.m. The Sun Devils enter the second round matchup fresh off a 73-62 victory over 10-seeded Nebraska on Saturday.

Although the game will mark Atkins’ final outing in front of the fans at the Frank Erwin Center, the senior hopes it won’t be her last time in burnt orange.

All she has to do is survive.

“They’ve been the best fans that I’ve ever been around,” Atkins said. “I’m just so thankful for this program and everything it’s done for me.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Ariel Atkins has become Texas’ level-headed, battle-tested leader over her four years with the team. But on Friday, for the first time in a long time, she was anxious.  

The Longhorns had just wrapped up their usual practice routine at the Frank Erwin Center, running the fast break, knocking down threes and working on post moves.

This practice was different, though. It marked the final session before the second-seeded Longhorns’ Saturday matchup against fifteen-seeded Maine in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

And although a loss would mean the end of Texas’ season, for Atkins, it would mean the end of an era.

“I guess you could say it's not nerve-wracking, but it is butterflies,” Atkins said. “This is my last time, my last chance to be a part of this program. Just can’t say enough about it.”

Atkins first stepped foot on the 40 Acres in the summer of 2014, joining a Longhorns team that had just suffered yet another early exit in the NCAA Tournament the previous season. The Duncanville, Texas, native made an immediate impact, making 19 starts and helping Texas to its first Sweet 16 appearance in a decade.

Fast forward 1,367 points and 106 wins later, and the senior gunslinger is now on her last ride, determined to extend it.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t want it to end,” Atkins said. “I love this team and everything about this program. I’m just thankful to be here and excited to keep it going.”

Texas’ tournament run starts with an opening-round matchup against a Maine team that’s carrying a six-game win streak into the postseason. The Black Bears are led by a backcourt duo of sophomore Blanca Millan and junior Tanesha Sutton, who combined for an average of 29.8 points per game during the regular season.

“They can shoot the three really well,” head coach Karen Aston said. “But they can score in a lot of different ways, so we’re going to have to be really good on defense.”

Atkins will have plenty of backcourt help herself, though, as fellow senior guard Brooke McCarty will also look to extend her collegiate career. The dynamic duo has been the driving force to Texas’ success over the past four years, leading the Longhorns all the way to the Elite Eight in 2016.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily hit me yet,” McCarty said. “It’s crazy to think this is our last go around. I'm just taking it day by day, having fun with it and enjoying these last moments.”

Texas will look to lean on Atkins and McCarty once more come Saturday as the Longhorns deal with a depleted frontcourt. Senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau has been out since Feb. 10 with a bruised left wrist, and freshman forward Rellah Boothe was declared unavailable for the postseason on Thursday due to an undisclosed personal reason.

“I think (Caron-Goudreau and Boothe) definitely are important to our team,” McCarty said. “But we have the people who we have, so we need to play, go to the next day, and keep rolling.”

Texas will have plenty of support in the stands, though, as the Longhorns will host the match in front of their fans at the Frank Erwin Center at 5 p.m. on Saturday – something Atkins has come to appreciate over the years

“It'll definitely be exciting to see them screaming and hollering and going crazy for us,” Atkins said. “They’ve always shown support, so it means a lot to be able to play in front of them again.”

Although Saturday’s matchup could be Atkins and McCarty’s last time in burnt orange, the senior duo remains focused; determined to earn the Final Four appearance that’s eluded them thus far.

Until then, it’s business as usual.

“I think (McCarty and I) came here and have given Texas everything we have,” Atkins said. “But we still have more to go. At this point it's just fighting for the next day.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

It was a different kind of film session.

During the 2015–16 season, Texas head coach Karen Aston called her team into the film room. The players expected to see clips from their most recent game. Aston had other plans.

Videos of the Longhorns’ softball team flickered on the screen, specifically Texas’ dugout. The bench came alive after every hit, run and stolen base. The players celebrated each other’s accomplishments. Aston envied all of it.

“We need more energy on the bench,” Aston said to her team.

Then-freshman forward Jordan Hosey agreed.

“You know what?” Hosey thought to herself. “Now’s the time for people to start actually seeing who I really am.”

Since then, Hosey leaps out of her seat for every foul call, fast-break layup and far-ranging 3-pointer her teammates earn. Now a junior, she’s got an entire repertoire of moves at her disposal.

Roll in an and-one layup, and Hosey toes the sideline with her biceps curled. Drain a triple over the hand of a defender and Hosey covers her eyes with one hand and pretends to shoot with the other. She grinds out jumping jacks, shreds an air guitar and dances to the music in her head. 

“She just does a lot of things that creates a better vibe for our team,” senior guard Ariel Atkins said. “She creates a culture. You can’t put that in the stat sheet.”

Sometimes, she makes them up on the spot. Other times, she resorts to her favorites.

When the bench gets bogged down, Hosey becomes a photographer. She runs to the end of the floor, squats down and snaps pictures with an invisible camera. All of her teammates strike their favorite pose.

“I love, ‘The Picture,’” Hosey said. “I just feel like the crowd can see our team, like how they really are, doing what they can do best.”

The energy that Hosey brings has defined her role on the team. Her teammates play harder when she’s turned up, motivated to bring on the next celebration from Hosey. She doesn’t need to play to impact the game. But it doesn’t hurt, though.

In high school, Hosey and No. 16 Manvel played for the championship game in the UIL State Basketball Tournament on March 2, 2014. They matched up with No. 2 Duncanville, led by Hosey’s future teammate, Ariel Atkins.

Manvel had lost to Duncanville once already earlier in the season. Hosey wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. She started talking trash to Atkins, trying to get in her head. Atkins was caught off guard.

“Ariel didn’t like me,” Hosey said.

“It was just more so annoying than anything else,” Atkins said. “She’s a good trash-talker.”

The mind games worked. After an 18-point first half, Atkins scored just six points in the second, and Duncanville fell to Manvel, 58-53. 

“I wasn’t a fan of Jordan Hosey coming into college and when she came here,” Atkins said. “But, that’s part of her game. That’s who she is. So, I guess when she is trash-talking, you can tell it’s a part of her confidence in her game.”

Hosey makes it her mission to get under the skin of her opponents when she enters the game. She’s the self-proclaimed best trash-talker on the team. She scampers all over the hardwood, forcing plodding defenders to chase her. 

Nothing works better than getting run over.

“I love charges,” Hosey said. “I’m an undersized post — I’m little compared to everybody else in our league that plays my position. I know I’m not going to be able to block shots like I did in high school. I just feel like my foot speed is faster than a normal-sized four. So, why not just beat them to the spot and let them run over me?”

Though the best parts of her game don’t show up in the box score, Hosey’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. She started over sophomore forward Joyner Holmes in the Longhorns’ 79-66 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday night and finished with eight points, three assists and two rebounds. 

Aston’s enjoyed seeing her thrive.

“I think Jordan’s just found her niche,” Aston said after the game. “She does give us energy, and she is always a great teammate. She gives our team enthusiasm. And I think every team needs someone like that — that’s kind of selfless. And that’s pretty much Jordan in a nutshell.”

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Senior guard Brooke McCarty walked off the court on Monday night to the sight of a standing ovation and with her head held high.

The scoreboard of No. 6 Texas’ game against No. 3 Baylor showed a 93-87 victory for the Bears. And although they’d missed out on their biggest win of the season, the Longhorns felt they’d left it all on the court at the Frank Erwin Center.

Texas entered the battle of the Big 12’s top two teams determined to avenge its 81-56 loss to the Bears on Jan. 25, fighting tooth and nail with Baylor to force an 11-11 tie with 6:13 left in the first quarter.

The Bears awoke from their slumber, launching a 9-2 run fueled by six Texas turnovers. McCarty had an answer, though, as the senior guard sank a pair of consecutive open threes to cut the Baylor lead to 23-19 at the break.

“I thought our turnovers in the first quarter set us back a little bit,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “I thought we were playing very well defensively, but we just got in too much of a hurry.”

Desperate to shake the stingy Longhorns, Baylor hit even harder in the second quarter. The Bears began to crash the glass, out-rebounding an undersized Texas squad, 17-7.

McCarty kept Texas above water once again, lighting up the Bears for six points as the Longhorns cut the lead to 39-35 with 50 seconds before halftime.

But Baylor ended the quarter with a pair of unanswered buckets to claim a 43-35 lead at the half.

“I can’t look away from the rebounding number,” Aston said. “It was very clearly the difference in the game, and there were critical moments where we couldn’t get a defensive rebound.”

The Longhorns finally landed some punches of their own in the third quarter as Joyner Holmes began to expose the Baylor frontcourt. The sophomore forward gave an edge to a Texas team that’d been struggling to keep pace all night, scoring four points and totaling five boards in the quarter.

Atkins brought the crowd to its feet with 5:33 left, finishing on a fastbreak layup to give Texas a 51-50 lead — its first since 7:10 remained in the first quarter.

The one-point advantage lasted just 15 seconds as Baylor senior guard Kristy Wallace sank a floater on the baseline, igniting a 14-5 Baylor run. The Bears created separation once again, entering the fourth quarter with a 68-59 lead.

The Bears went for the knockout punch in the final quarter as Baylor sophomore forward Lauren Cox sunk a right-handed hook shot, plus the foul, to give her team a 77-62 lead with 6:44 left in the game.

Despite the game seemingly being out of reach, Texas kept fighting. McCarty continued to let it fly, drilling four three-pointers and posting 16 points in the quarter.

A late Longhorn comeback fell just short as the Bears escaped Austin with a six-point win.

McCarty finished the night with a career-high 32 points on 7-of-9 shooting from deep. The strong performance was a welcomed sight for a player who has shot just 32.5 percent from 3-point range all season.

Holmes also continued to show progress in the starting slot, finishing just shy of a double-double performance with 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Longhorns (22–5, 13–3 Big 12) hope to rebound from Monday’s loss as the Big 12 tournament, and a possible rematch against Baylor, looms in the distance.

“I think as a competitor you never want to lose,” McCarty said. “But at this point we can’t drown in our sorrows. We have to move on to the next game. We’ll see them again.”

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

Texas got some of its worst news of the season on Thursday when it found out senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau had been ruled out indefinitely because of a left wrist injury she sustained in the Longhorns’ win over Kansas State on Feb. 10.

But the No. 6 Longhorns responded with a collective beatdown on Saturday afternoon in Stillwater, defeating No. 21 Oklahoma State, 77-62, in a game in which every player saw time on the court. Texas has now won seven games in a row.

Joyner Holmes, Caron-Goudreau’s replacement, made her presence known in the opening quarter. The 6-foot-3-inch sophomore forward took advantage of what was only her second start of the season, racking up an early 6 points, four rebounds and a block as the Longhorns claimed a 21-14 lead with 1:40 left to go.

But Oklahoma State responded, turning to freshman guard Braxtin Miller for a spark. Miller torched the Longhorns for 23 points when the two teams previously met on Jan. 3, and Saturday was no different.

Miller found that same swagger in the opening quarter, scoring 4 points as part of Oklahoma State’s 6-0 run to end the quarter. And with that, a quarter in which Texas dominated the Cowgirls, the Longhorns clung to a 1-point advantage, 21-20.

Texas upped the intensity in the second quarter, forcing five Oklahoma State turnovers and holding the Cowgirls to just 5-for-15 shooting.

This time, it was senior guard Brooke McCarty who led the charge on the offensive end, scoring 7 points in the quarter as the Longhorns opened up a 38-30 lead heading into halftime.

“We talked a little bit earlier this week about how if you get an open shot, you shoot,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “Especially with Brooke. She has a green light, so she needed to look more for her shot, and she did that today.”

Everything went wrong for Oklahoma State in the third quarter as Texas began to pull away. The Longhorns kicked off the second half with a crushing blow, jumping out to an 8-0 run in the first three minutes.

It was Jatarie White’s turn this time around. The junior forward fueled the run, scoring 6 points and forcing the Cowgirls into an early timeout.

Things didn’t get any easier for Oklahoma State, as the team shot a woeful 4-for-15 from the field. It was a group effort on the other side of the court, as six different Longhorn players scored in the quarter.

Senior guard Ariel Atkins delivered the dagger to end the period, sinking a midrange jumper at the buzzer to give Texas a commanding 55-41 lead.

Texas went into cruise control in the fourth quarter, slowing the pace en route to the 15-point victory.

The senior backcourt duo of McCarty and Atkins shined in the win. McCarty finished the outing with a team-high 17 points and six assists, while Atkins totaled 15 points and four rebounds.

“I think it’s a combination of them being seniors and having played at this level for almost four years now,” Aston said. “It’s a testament to their hard work. They’re always in the gym, and it’s paying off for them.”

The victory is one of Texas’ most impressive wins on the season, as four different Longhorns scored in double digits — a sign of the team’s depth in the aftermath of Caron-Goudreau’s injury.

“Yesterday in practice, Coach just told us to be ready when our number gets called,” said junior forward Jordan Hosey, one of the team’s biggest boosts off the bench. “We knew we’d need the whole team (today), so when our number got called, we just did what we could do.”

Texas (22–4, 13–2 Big 12) now shifts its focus to a home game against No. 3 Baylor on Monday night. The Bears handed the Longhorns their worst loss of the season on Jan. 25 in Waco, 81-56. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center.

Photo Credit: Jessica Joseph | Daily Texan Staff

Jatarie White went exploring.

The junior center typically roams the paint, scavenging inside for easy buckets no more than a step or two away from the rim. Texas Tech made them hard to come by early in No. 6 Texas’ 87-72 win over the Red Raiders on Wednesday night at the Frank Erwin Center.

Sophomore forward Joyner Holmes started in place of senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau, who was out with a bruised left wrist. Holmes doesn’t have the same outside touch as her injured counterpart.

White tried to share the interior with Holmes. But after fighting through double teams on her first two makes, White knew she needed to venture into mid-range territory.

With 4:45 remaining in the first quarter, White received a bounce pass from senior guard Ariel Atkins just above the free throw line and rose for a jumper. The ball rolled around, hung on the front of the rim for an eternity, then fell in. She hit another jumper from the left elbow, going 4-for-4 in the first quarter and scoring eight of Texas’ first 10 points. 

“I’ve been getting in the gym a little bit more with Coach Tina (Thompson) and working on my shooting form,” White said. “Also, noticing Coach (Aston) telling us that they were kind of closing in on the paint, flashing into the high post is just where I wanted to find the open space.”

The Longhorns still struggled. Texas couldn’t find the usual cracks in the defense without Caron-Goudreau’s floor spacing. The Red Raiders ended the quarter leading 19-16.

Texas head coach Karen Aston shook things up in the second quarter. She started sophomore wing Jada Underwood at the power forward spot to open things up on offense. It worked — but at a cost.

On Texas’ first possession, senior guard Brooke McCarty drove inside for an and-one layup and made the ensuing free throw. Texas Tech responded on the other end with a layup of its own.

The Red Raiders pummeled the Longhorns in the post. Underwood and Atkins were too small to contain Texas Tech’s 6-foot-4-inch senior center, Jada Terry, or 6-foot-6-inch sophomore center Erin Degrate. Terry and Degrate finished the half combining for 18 points.

“It’s frustrating as a player not being able to — kind of just giving up easy one-foot points,” White said.

Aston turned to 6-foot-3-inch freshman forward Rellah Boothe to plug the hole on defense. She thrived. Boothe was enough of a perimeter threat on offense to keep her defender from sagging off, and she had the size to slow down Texas Tech’s bigs on defense.

Boothe entered the game with 6:24 remaining in the half and Texas clinging to a three-point lead. Four different players scored on an 8-2 Texas run, including Boothe. The freshman came out a few possessions later at the 2:17 mark with the Longhorns leading 41-34. 

“Rellah played some valuable minutes,” Aston said. “When you have a night like tonight where people aren’t clicking as well as they typically do or you need to rest some players sometimes, things like that, that’s what a bench is about. I was very pleased.”

Texas went to a 2-3 zone defense in the second half, fortifying the paint and forcing more turnovers that led to transition baskets. McCarty pilfered the ball on back-to-back plays and racked up six points to cap off a 10-0 run by the Longhorns late in the third quarter. The Red Raiders trailed by double-digits the remainder of the game.

White finished with 11 points and one rebound. McCarty tallied 13 points, one rebound and one assist.

The Longhorns (21–4, 12–2 Big 12) will hit the road to take on No. 21 Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday. Though Texas won its previous matchup with Oklahoma State at home by five points, White said the team can’t afford to lose its focus.

“I try not to think about the last game,” White said. “I try to think about what that team does and where they’re successful … Kind of knowing what they do already and not really focusing on how many points they score.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Kansas State played two steps ahead on Saturday night, and it didn’t matter.

The No. 6 Longhorns won on the Wildcats’ terms at the Frank Erwin Center, besting a Kansas State team that seemed to make all the necessary adjustments.

Texas 76; Kansas State 54.

The first adjustment came two minutes into the game when junior forward Jatarie White put the Wildcats on notice by scoring the opening four Texas points and snagging two offensive rebounds.

Kansas State head coach Jeff Mittie countered, quickly subbing senior forward Kaylee Page out for 6-foot-4-inch freshman center Mary Lakes. The increase in size proved effective as White went silent for the remainder of the quarter, failing to score another point.

The second adjustment came after the Longhorns (20–4, 11–2 Big 12) implemented a full-court press midway through the first — the same press that forced Kansas State into 19 turnovers when the two teams previously faced off on Jan. 7.

This time, the Wildcats kept their cool, repeatedly breaking the press and extending their range for a banquet of open threes. Kansas State made the Longhorns pay, shooting 3-of-4 from deep as Texas ended the first quarter with a hard-earned 23-21 lead.

“We got a little undisciplined,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “We fouled and didn’t always get back in transition, so I thought that allowed (Kansas State) to make a lot of plays.”

The Wildcats intensified the pressure in the second quarter, this time focusing on Texas’ attack in the paint. Kansas State forced the Longhorns to change their bruising style of play, using a 2-3 zone that dared them to shoot from deep instead.

The Longhorns failed to take advantage, shooting an abysmal 1-of-5 from long range as they clung to a 27-25 lead with 7:17 left before halftime.

With Texas’ starting lineup struggling to generate offense, Aston made an adjustment of her own, calling sophomore guard Alecia Sutton off the bench for a spark.

The move paid off as the St. Louis native scored four points, including a buzzer-beating 2-point pull-up before the half that capped off a 12-5 Longhorn run and gave Texas a 39-30 lead.

“I just felt like it brought the energy up after I made that shot,” Sutton said. “We were kind of dead in the first half, so I just wanted to give some energy to the team.”

With the game still up for grabs, Texas found its saving grace in senior Brooke McCarty. The shifty 5-foot-4-inch guard, who’d been contained to just four points in the first half, finally broke free in the third quarter.

McCarty exposed the Wildcats’ defense, igniting a personal 10-0 run as the Longhorns blew open a 60-41 lead with 3:30 left in the third quarter. For the first time all night, Kansas State didn’t have an answer.

Texas rallied around its senior leader as the Longhorns entered the final quarter of play with an imposing 66-44 lead.

“I just fed off my teammates,” McCarty said. “I tried to get them the ball, but when I was open they got me the ball and I just took advantage of what the defense gave me.”

The fourth quarter was merely a formality as Texas put the finishing touches on a 22-point win. McCarty finished the night with a team-high 17 points.

Sophomore forward Joyner Holmes also excelled, after senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau was sidelined by a left wrist injury in the second quarter. Holmes scored 11 points and added seven rebounds. The Cedar Hill native could see more minutes in the future, should Caron-Goudreau miss some time with the injury.

“I think I can contribute in whatever way my team needs,” Holmes said. “It’ll be tough, but I think I can fill her role as best as I can.”

The victory marked Texas’ fifth-straight season with at least 20 wins. The Longhorns have little time for celebration, though, as they now shift their focus to a home game against Texas Tech on Wednesday at 7 p.m.