Natalie Beazant

Senior Elizabeth Begley and junior Lina Padegimaite defended their home turf in doubles play Sunday, a week after they were shut out in Portland, Ore.

They advanced to the finals of the Longhorn Invitational after receiving a first-round bye and defeated two Wichita State tandems.

The two played against Rice’s Natalie Beazant and Stephanie Nguyen in the finals. After taking a 6-5 lead in the match, they broke Rice’s serve and held their own to win 8-6.

The win followed Saturday’s matches, which set Begley against Nguyen in the consolation singles round and Padegimaite versus Beazant in the singles quarterfinals. Begley won her match, while Padegimaite lost hers (3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6)).

At the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, sophomore Breaunna Addison and freshman Pippa Horn lost 8-5 to Louisville’s Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine in the first round.

Addison also dropped a top-ten matchup against No. 9 Julia Elbaba of Virginia after she made the singles draw as a wildcard.

Both events end the fall season for the Longhorns, who will begin the spring season mid-January at the Miami Invite.

Big 12 play is just two weeks away and the Longhorns are already early favorites to win the conference.

All nine coaches from the other Big 12 schools gave Texas, the reigning Big 12 Champions, their first-place votes for preseason favorite. Baylor received one first place vote from Longhorns coach Patty Fendick-McCain.

Despite the early billing, the Longhorns dropped 15 spots to No. 29 in the team standings. However, Aerial Ellis, No. 28 singles player, and Breaunna Addison, No. 35, moved up in the singles rankings.

Texas will need a strong showing against visiting Rice to validate its selection as conference favorites.

Rice brings two ranked players in singles, No. 71 Natalie Beazant and No. 80 Dominique Harmath.

Beazant will be a challenge for whoever faces her. The sophomore is coming off of a freshman campaign filled with accolades. She claimed Conference USA Player and Freshman of the Year honors, as well as conference first team honors in singles and doubles play.

Texas and Rice start dual match play at the Penick-Allison Center Saturday at noon.