It was probably unwise and a bit unfair to expect freshman Lashann Higgs to dominate college basketball during her freshman season at Texas.
There have been more disappointments than good times for the one of the nation’s top recruits. On Wednesday, though, Higgs reminded a small crowd at the Erwin Center what all the fuss was about.
The 5-9 guard out of Cedar Ridge High in Round Rock scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and dished out 5 assists as No. 5 Texas defeated Canisius 92-62 before an announced crowd of 2,370 at the Erwin Center.
Higgs, entering the game shooting 31.9 percent from the floor, looked relaxed Wednesday, hitting a variety of mid-range jumpers and driving layups.
“Lashann just has to be patient,” coach Karen Aston said. “There’s nothing wrong with the way she’s playing. It’s a learning curve that’s huge, it doesn’t matter who you are.”
Higgs scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half to help the Longhorns extend their lead.
“I try not to think about how many shots I took in high school,” Higgs said. “I’m just thinking about how to play my game in this offense. I’m working on being more patient.”
On another positive note, Texas (9-0) connected on 8 of 17 three-point shots (47.1 percent). Guard Brooke McCarty connected of four shots from downtown and senior guard Celina Rodrigo canned a pair.
Through nine games, the Horns have made 38 percent of their shots behind three-point arc. McCarty is the team leader with 17 treys. Perhaps the most improved shooter is Rodrigo, who has made 10 of her 19 treys (52.6 percent) after making 33.3 percent last season.
Senior post Imani Boyette, who led the Horns with 15 points and 10 rebounds, said UT’s ability to hit three-pointers creates scoring opportunities for the post players.
“Last year, (opponents) didn’t believe our guards could make shots, so they started sagging on me,” the 6-7 Boyette said. “So now they have to figure out what they want to do, what they want to give up. Do they want to guard the guards or me?”
Canisius (6-3) stayed competitive by making 9 three-pointers. Guard Tihana Mills led the Golden Griffins with 13 points.
Canisius coach Terry Zeh said UT’s heigh advantage and ability to connect on three-pointers were too much to overcome.
“When we’re inside trying to guard Imani and they start banging threes, it makes really difficult for us to guard,” Zeh said. “We can’t defend her in a one-on-one situation in the post. Our hope was Texas wouldn’t make threes tonight.”
McCarty, who finished with 14 points, drained a three-pointer with 2 seconds left in the first half to give the Longhorns a 47-30 lead at the break.
In an uninspiring half for the Horns, Aston benched her entire starting lineup after just two minutes, saying she was “irritated” by a lack of “attention to detail.” McCarty led the team at halftime with 9 points as Aston used all 12 of her players in the first 20 minutes.
Texas finished with a 42-25 edge in rebounds and outscored Canisius 44-22 in the paint. Kelsey Lang contributed 10 points and 4 rebounds to the Horns.
The game served as a tuneup for the Big 12/Southeastern Conference Challenge against Arkansas at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Oklahoma City. The next home game for the Horns will be against Sam Houston State on Dec. 27.