In many ways Sunday, Texas flashed the skill, teamwork and hustle that have made the Longhorns the second-ranked team in the nation.
Guard Lashann Higgs scored 18 points, Brooke McCarty had 14, and the Longhorns posted a 51-25 advantage on the boards in a resounding 95-59 season-opening victory at the Erwin Center.
Newcomer Jatarie White led all players with nine rebounds and junior forward Jordan Hosey chipped in a career-high 13 points.
There were plenty of reasons the Longhorns should have been proud of their performance. Instead of basking in the glow of a 36-point blowout, coach Karen Aston and her players spoke about ways they can improve.
UT’ defense was subpar, the sixth-year Longhorns coach said. When she watches game film, Aston will see how Stetson forward Kennedi Colclough scored a game-high 19 points, many on open shots after driving through Longhorn defenders.
“There were a lot of teaching moments that we can fix,” Aston said. “They exposed us in some areas that we need to get better at.”
That does not mean Aston was not happy with the game.
The offense, led by Higgs and McCarty was, at times, very efficient.
There were times UT’s offense struggled. Incoming freshmen Destiny Littleton, Rellah Boothe and Chasity Patterson combined for a 2-for-18 performance on the floor for a total four points.
Aston described her team’s offense as “shot-happy,” saying the Horns took quick shots instead of passing a few extra times to find open teammates.
“We have high expectations for ourselves but there will always be room for improvement,” said Higgs, who finished making 7-of-9 shot attempts.
Aston noted that her starting five was sharp on offense, particularly in the first half. Higgs scored 14 of her points in the first half to help the Longhorns grab a 57-33 lead at halftime.
Senior guard Ariel Atkins set a career record with six assists. She finished with nine points and four rebounds. Senior Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreauadded 10 points, making 5-of-6 field goal attempts while pulling down five rebounds.
“Texas is big, deep, one of the better Texas teams I’ve seen and I’ve been around for a while,” said Stetson coach Lynn Bria.
The Longhorns’ biggest improvement, she said, is their perimeter shooting game.
“They shoot the three-ball better, and that’ going to open up their offense,” Bria added. “Defenses won’t be able to just pack it in anymore.”
Notes: Texas improved its record to 40-4 in home openers. … The Longhorns set a team record with 33 points in the first quarter — the most points scored in any quarter since the NCAA adopted the quarter system in 2015. … Using an effective press, Texas earned an 18-2 edge in second-chance points. The Longhorns scored 29 points off 22 Stetson turnovers. … The next game for Texas will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday against McNeese State at the Erwin Center. About 5,000 school children from area schools will attend the annual 40 Acres Field Trip game.