While Imani Boyette had one of the best games of her career on Wednesday, more than 5,000 school kids sang and danced to “Y.M.CA.”
Boyette and her teammates fed off their energy and buried Northwestern (La.) State at the Erwin Center, 86-33. Texas (2-0) also received contributions from guards Brooke McCarty (15 points) and Brianna Taylor (11-points, 4 boards). But before the crowd of 7,582, no one shined brighter than Boyette, who hit 12 of her 13 shots from the field.
Her only miss was a 3-pointer early in the first quarter. The 6-7 senior needs only nine points to reach 1,000 career points with the Horns.
“Imani was terrific, but she’ll probably tell you it was her height advantage,” coach Karen Aston said. “But she did a great job of imposing her will.”
Boyette made her first four shots to help the Longhorns establish a 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter. In a game that was never in doubt, 11th-ranked Texas rolled to a 49-12 lead at halftime, outscoring the Lady Demons 27-1 in the second quarter.
Boyette deflected praise, saying her teammates did a good job of feeding her the ball close to the rim. While she and 6-5 forward Kelsey Lang (8 points, 8 rebounds) owned the paint, guards such as McCarty, Taylor, Celina Rodrigo (8 points) and Tasia Foman (8 points) sank a fair number of long-range shots.
“If (opponents) are going to stay in the paint (for defense), the guards are going to knock down their threes,” Boyette said. “They’re going to have to pick their poison.”
This marked the fourth year for the annual 40 Acres Field trip for roughly 40 Central Texas elementary and middle schools. The kids kept the decibel meters at something that might rival a Justin Bieber concert. Texas players praised the kids for their spirit and spent about 15 minutes after the game signing autographs.
“For every autograph I signed, I told them they all have to come back to another game,” Boyette said. “And every single one of them said they will come back.”
Taylor said the crowd “fired up” the Longhorns, who didn’t seem to need much help from outside forces. “My role is to bring energy off the bench.”
Taylor played a large part in UT’s 27-1 second-quarter burst. Texas outplayed the Lady Demons in every facet, owning a 47-18 edge in rebounds, a 13-2 advantage in steals and a 4-0 edge in blocked shots.
Aston noted the 11 a.m. start time will benefit Texas in the future, saying many of the team’s Big 12 games are scheduled for 11 a.m. or noon.
“You wish you had these kids here for every game, especially when this many show up,” Aston said. “But I guess you have to go to school sometimes. It’s kind of important we go to class.”
Northwestern State (1-2) was led by guard Beatrice Attura, who scored 15 points.
Texas, which improved its series record over the Lady Demons to 5-0, continues its non-conference schedule with a game against Rice at 2 p.m. Saturday in Houston.