As confetti fluttered from the rafters, the University of Texas women’s basketball team was presented a crystal vase filled with 1,000 orange and white M&Ms.
Coach Karen Aston, surrounded by her players and staff, basked in the glow of a 70-46 victory over Kansas Wednesday night at the Erwin Center. The Longhorns thus became the fifth team in NCAA women’s history to record 1,000 all-time victories.
In a video presentation on the scoreboard, Jody Conradt, architect of 783 of those triumphs, congratulated the current team and reflected on humble beginnings. The program that started in 1974 had to share uniforms with the UT volleyball team, she recalled.
Texas improved to 19-1, 8-1 in the Big 12. Kansas is 5-15, 0-9.
Aston said it’s significant to reach the milestone with one of the school’s best teams since the 2002-03 team that went to the Final Four.
“It makes more of an impact on them,” she said. ” They feel they were a part of this, even though they’d have been a part no matter what kind of season we were having. With the kind of season we’re having, they’re feeling more responsibility and an ownership of what’s gone on in the program and where we are now.”
Imani Boyette lead the Longhorns with her 12th-double-double of the season, contributing 16 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-7 center from Los Angeles has earned a double-double in eight of her nine conference games. With the absence of snow on the court, Boyette laid on the floor and made confetti angels while her teammates dumped streamers on their coach.
Guard Brooke McCarty scored 13 points and 13 of 14 Longhorns who played scored at least a point.
“We have a special team this year,” senior guard Celina Rodrigo said. “We’re going to build on it from here. it’s a great milestone moment.”
Texas put the game out of reach with a 19-0 run to close the second quarter. Kansas scored the first six points of the quarter on consecutive three-pointers, but went scoreless over the final 7:45.
Boyette had 10 points and six rebounds in the first half to help give Texas a 39-15 lead at the break. McCarty scored nine points in the half, hitting on three treys in the first six minutes of first quarter.
With only four regular-season games remaining, Boyette said she will savor the final month of her college career.
“I’m going to be proud to say I played for Texas for four years, and I played under coach Aston,” Boyette said. “I’m going to miss being a player here but I’m excited to be able to go into the world and say I’m a Texas ex. I was part of the Longhorn team that got to 1,000 wins.”
Texas seeks victory No. 1,001 when the Horns travel to Kansas State. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN3.
TEXAS NOTES — Before the game, Texas senior Empress Davenport was presented the Judy Dunn Award. The honor recoginzes a women’s basketball player who aspires to teach, coach or make a difference in youth sports. Dunn was a successful high school coach in Texas, logging more than 500 career victories, mostly at Colony High from 1985-1994…. Texas improved its series record over Kansas to 21-10.