The Texas women’s team is dancing to Lexington, Ky., a state that’s home to bluegrass (both the grass and the music), smoked mutton, bourbon and basketball fans that are both the worst and best in the world. Few states love basketball more than the state of Kentucky, where education pays, so to say the Texas women will be going to place where college basketball is well-liked is an understatement.
A few things you need to know if you’re heading to Lexington.
First: Flying directly to Lexington will set you back about a $1,000, so pay half that, fly into Cincinnati’s airport, which is actually in Covington, Ky. and about an hour away from Lexington.
Second: know your Texas basketball Sweet 16 history.
I can’t help you beyond the airport tip with the first one, but I can the second one. Here’s 16 things you need to know about Texas women’s basketball in the Sweet 16
16. The last time it happened
Texas reached the Sweet 16 last season and has now gone to the round of 16 three straight seasons. The last time that happened, Jody Conradt was the coach, Barack Obama wasn’t even a U.S. senator and Donald Trump’s show “The Apprentice” was just starting. Texas made the Sweet 16 in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Sandwiched between two Sweet 16 appearances was a Final Four appearance.
15. Coaches who went to the Sweet 16 at Texas
Karen Aston and Jody Conradt are the only coaches in Texas history to lead the Longhorns to the Sweet 16. Rod Page, the first coach, and Gail Goestenkors, the third coach, never got out of the first weekend of the tournament.
14. Kentucky connection
Western Kentucky University is about two and half hours away from Lexington and is in Bowling Green, Ky. In 1985, Texas reached the Sweet 16 and lost a heart-breaker 92-90 in Bowling Green. Texas is 2-1 all-time in tournament games played in Kentucky.
13. Karen Aston in the Sweet 16
Aston is 1-1 in Sweet 16 games as a head coach. When she was an assistant at Texas from 1998-2006, the Longhorns went 1-2 in Sweet 16 games, the one win was en route to Texas’ 2003 Final Four appearance. As an assistant at Baylor in 2006-2007, the Bears reached the Sweet 16 losing to eventual champion Maryland 82-63.
12. Record as a No. 3 seed
With two wins this postseason, Texas is now 6-4 all-time as a No. 3 seed. The Longhorns beat North Carolina State as a No. 3 seed in 1990, the only time they have ever played in the Sweet 16 as a No. 3 seed.
11. When they hosted
Texas has hosted a regional tournament six times.
10. Most decorated all-regional player
Andrea Lloyd was all-region in 1984, 1985 and 1987. She is the only three-time all-region selection.
9. The most recent all-region team members
Ariel Atkins and LaShann Higgs were all-region last season. Higgs, then a freshman, had three steals in the Sweet 16, while Atkins scored 16 points and eight rebounds. Imani Boyette was the leading scorer with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
8. Biggest loss
Avert your eyes! In 2015 eventual National Champion and current women’s basketball owner, Connecticut beat Texas 105-54. It is the largest margin of defeat in Texas tournament history. Texas kept it closer the next year when they played the Huskies in the Elite Eight, but still lost 86-65.
7. Biggest win
No. 1 seed Texas beat No. 4 seed James Madison in 1987 91-57, a margin of 34 points, to secure the most lopsided win in Sweet 16 program history
6. Got upset
If Texas plays Kansas State in the Sweet 16, they’ll be the higher seed. Texas has lost as the higher seed twice in the Sweet 16. Texas was the No. 1 seed in the region in 2004 and 1985 and lost both games to LSU and Western Kentucky. Overall, Texas is 35-11 as the higher seed in the NCAA Tournament
5. Pulled off upset
If Texas plays Stanford in the Sweet 16, they’ll be the lower seed. Texas has one win over a higher-seeded team in the Sweet 16. Texas beat Hall of Famer Kay Yow and North Carolina State in 1990. The Wolfpack were the No. 2 seed and Texas the No. 3. Overall, Texas is 2-16 as the lower seed in the NCAA Tournament.
4. The first time in the Sweet 16
Texas first reached the Sweet 16 in 1983 under Conradt. It was a big time win. Texas beat Kansas State in overtime (one of two Texas OT tournament games) 73-70 in Ruston, La.
3. Assured of a Sweet 16 rematch
Texas plays the winner of tonight’s Stanford-Kansas State game. The Longhorns beat Stanford in 1988 in the Sweet 16. See above about Kansas State.
2. The record in the Sweet 16
Texas is 9-4 in the Sweet 16, beating UCLA last year to snap a two-game losing streak in the round.
1. This is where Texas won it all
Texas went 34-0 in 1986 and Kamie Ethridge was National Player of the Year. In the Sweet 16, Texas beat Mississippi 66-63 to advance to the Final Four in, wait for it, Lexington, Ky.
Once there, Texas bashed Western Kentucky, see No. 14 for more information, then beat University of Southern California (who had one of the greatest women’s basketball players ever in Cheryl Miller on the roster) to win the championship.
It is the only basketball championship a Texas team, men’s or women’s, has won.
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