Texas head coach Karen Aston, left, high-fives her players after Texas lost to Baylor in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship game of the women's Big 12 conference tournament in Oklahoma City, Monday, March 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

NCAA women’s tournament: Texas, Arizona State will match strength vs. strength

Posted March 18th, 2018

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When Texas and Arizona State play Monday for a spot in the Sweet 16, may the best rebounder win.

The Longhorns and Sun Devils treated fans to a rebounding clinic in the NCAA Tournament first round Saturday at the Erwin Center.

Texas didn’t allow Maine to grab a board for the first 7 minutes, 43 seconds. Arizona State, meanwhile, had 21 offensive rebounds against Nebraska.

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The Longhorns and Sun Devils combined to out-rebound their opponents 92-39.

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“That was the thing that kind of jumped out at me watching Arizona State right off the bat, is that Nebraska didn’t seem to be able to get a rebound,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. “So, yeah, we have our hands full, no question.”

It helps that Aston can rely on every player on her roster to grab a board, as they did Saturday. Even Brooke McCarty — the Longhorns’ 5-4 point guard — got in on the act. She tied for the team high with seven boards in only 24 minutes.

“When the guards get in the rebounding game, we can start our break, so it’s a good thing for us,” said McCarty, who’s averaging 4.4 rebounds a game this season, up from 3.6 a year ago.

“I would have to say that’s not what I recruited Brooke to do,” Aston said. “She’s discovered ways to maneuver and pick up the loose ones when people box out. But I do love point guards that rebound.”

Texas will need all hands on deck to box out the Sun Devils. The boards may have come easy for both teams in the first round, but they know that won’t be the case come Monday.

“It’s a mentality that we have to go into the next game with because they’re definitely a physical team,” UT guard Lashann Higgs said.

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