For a change, Karen Aston walked into a postgame press conference knowing that her team did just about everything right.
The Texas coach did not have to discuss any meltdowns. The Longhorns shot 52.1 percent from the field, won the rebounding battle 48-25, scored 42 points in the paint and never trailed in their Big 12 basketball game against Texas Tech.
Forward Joyner Holmes scored 20 points — 16 in the first half — and shooting guard Danni Williams added 16 to help No. 19 Texas defeat the Lady Raiders 81-57 Saturday at the Erwin Center.
Texas (21-6, 11-4) maintained a share of second place in the conference with the victory. It also gave the Longhorns a shot of confidence heading into Monday’s game against top-ranked Baylor.
“In years past, we wouldn’t have taken this game — and I don’t mean this in a negative way whatsoever — but in the last couple years a 20-point win over Texas Tech would not have given us any extra confidence,” Aston said. “But Tech has been extremely competitive in our league. … The biggest thing for our team is to reset the brain and attack the next game with the best of our abilities and best effort.”
On Saturday, no one played better than Holmes, who went AWOL in last week’s 69-60 loss to Kansas State. After getting two quick fouls against K-State, she was limited to five points and six boards. Against Texas Tech, Holmes shot 9-for-13 from the field, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists.
Holmes opened the game by hitting three straight buckets. After Williams drilled a 3-pointer to give Texas a 9-0 lead with 6 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first period, Tech coach Marlene Stollings called a timeout to stop the bleeding.
Texas extended its lead to as many as 25 points in the third quarter before cruising to its 12th straight victory over the Lady Raiders.
Forward Jada Underwood, who came off the bench to contribute eight points, said the victory should give Texas “a little swagger” going into Monday’s game against Baylor.
She added that Baylor, which has won 19 of its last 20 against Texas, will present a far greater challenge.
Texas Tech (12-14, 3-12) was led by reserve guard Chrislyn Carr, who scored 19 points. Behind Carr, Tech cut a 25-point Texas lead to just 12 midway through the third quarter, but an 11-point scoring run by Texas ended Tech’s hope for a comeback.
Led by Holmes, Texas flexed its muscles in the paint. Its inside post quartet of Charli Collier, Jatarie White, Olamide Aborowa and Holmes combined for 44 points and 25 rebounds.
“We’re putting (the post players) in better positions, and they were willing to get in there and really grind,” Aston said. “Sometimes it’s just timing. We looked like we had a purpose today.”
The final home game of the regular season will be against Iowa State at 7 p.m. Saturday.