If first impressions are valid, Lashann Higgs will be a rock star for the University of Texas women’s basketball team.
A McDonald’s All-American at Cedar Ridge High in Round Rock and the No. 7 recruit in the nation, Higgs arrived on campus this fall as one of the team’s most decorated newcomers in years.
Before a small gathering Wednesday afternoon at the Erwin Center, she was the most impressive player on the court wearing burnt orange. In a 76-75 open practice loss against their men’s practice team, Higgs scored a team-high 21 points, showing poise and skill that should make her fan favorite.
Texas, trailing by 14 points midway through the second half, closed the gap to 76-74 on a three-pointer by Higgs with 1:08 to play. After a Tasia Foman free throw cut the margin to 1 with 23 seconds on the clock, the Longhorns nearly pulled off the comeback but a short jumper by Tasia Foman rolled around the rim and fell off in the final seconds.
Higgs, who verbally committed to Texas as a high school freshman, was the center of attention when a horde of media members surrounded her afterward.
“Waiting to be here for a very long time, it meant a lot to finally step on the court and play,” the Longhorn freshman.
Despite her obvious talent, Higgs is often “hard on herself,” coach Karen Aston said.
“Something that is hard for most new players is not worrying about what just happened,” Aston continued. “Go on to the next player. That’s important because the college game is faster than what (the freshmen” are used to.
Modest by nature, Higgs quietly carries unmistakable confidence. That was apparent when a reporter asked her to describe her game.
“I will just say that I believe in my abilities,” she said, smiling.
Last year Higgs averaged 27 points, 9 points and 5 assists to lead Cedar Ridge to a 30-3 record.
Aston said this year’s squad is loaded with depth at nearly every position. The only problem as that a few key players — guards Ariel Atkins and Brady Sanders to name a few — have not been cleared to play after having off-season surgery.
Sanders, a senior, had foot surgery. Aston said it’s “possible” the charismatic Longhorn will be in uniform when the regular season opens Nov. 14.
Senior post Imani Boyette (formerly McGee-Stafford) led the Longhorns with eight rebounds in the scrimmage.
Boyette, who married UT football player Paul Boyette in July, joked about changing her name to Imani McGee-Stafford Boyette, but doubted it would fit on the back of her jersey.
“No one knows who I am anymore,” she said. “People go up to Paul and ask him if he’s got a tall sister who plays basketball.”
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