No. 12 Texas A&M 66, No. 25 Texas 61: With Charli Collier contained, UT comes up short
After his fourth game with the Longhorns, Texas women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer revealed something about himself.
Schaefer opened his postgame press conference Sunday night after the Longhorns' 66-61 loss to Texas A&M by stating that "you guys are going to find out real quick I hate losing more than I like winning. I can't stand to lose, and I don't like losing the way we lost tonight."
The defeat was Schaefer's first with the Longhorns. It was dealt by a team that was ranked 12th nationally. UT was 25th in The Associated Press' poll at the time.
"We'll be fine if this time next Sunday we're better and we're executing better, we're making shots and we're doing things better. Then we're OK," Schaefer said. "If we don't learn from tonight, we've got issues."
Texas had opened this season with a 90-51 rout of SMU. It then blew by North Texas in a 106-69 triumph. Louisiana Tech? Texas jotted an 84-57 win over the Lady Techsters into its ledger Wednesday.
Any excitement over UT's strong start, though, should have been tempered by the strength of the schedule. Those three teams combined for a 40-50 record last season.
Texas A&M was the measuring stick for the Longhorns. The only ranked team on UT's nonconference schedule, the Aggies were 3-0 with a win over DePaul, which was listed five spots above Texas in the AP poll.
After shooting 3-for-16 from the field in the first quarter Sunday, Texas found itself facing an early 21-11 deficit. UT trimmed the Aggies' lead to six points by halftime. A 3-point play by Joanne Allen-Taylor tied the game in the third quarter.
Texas A&M ended the third quarter with a 51-49 lead. UT managed to keep the score close despite the Aggies' shutdown of Charli Collier.
Collier, a 6-foot-5 forward, played the entire quarter but did not record a field goal attempt. Running a zone defense, Texas A&M bodied Collier up in the paint with the 6-4 Ciera Johnson, and the 6-2 N’dea Jones was often nearby to help.
Collier entered the game averaging 30.3 points. She made just three free throws in the third quarter.
"From here on out, I'm going to be their main focus," Collier said. "I've got to expect that from here on out. Probably got to figure out a different way to get other shots in our offense for me or figure out a way for my other teammates to get better shots."
Collier was limited to one jumper in the fourth quarter. She played all 40 minutes Sunday and led Texas with her 14 points and 12 rebounds.
"For Charli, the lesson is that's how it's going to be until our guards figure out how to do what I want them to do and take the shots I want them to take," Schaefer said. "I'm not interested in going 7-for-24 from the 3-point line. That's what we did. We settled."
Audrey Warren twice gave the Longhorns the lead in the fourth quarter, but they were up on the Aggies for a total of only 95 seconds.
Texas A&M responded to a Warren 3-pointer that gave UT its first lead of the evening with a 12-2 run. The Longhorns clawed back within two points with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining. The Aggies, however, used free throws to put away the game, and a charging call on Celeste Taylor in the waning seconds ended the Longhorns' shot at a comeback.
"I think the biggest thing that we're going to learn from this loss is that we can't start any more game like we started today," Warren said. "We need to come out more intense, ready to defend and execute our offense."
Warren had 13 points for Texas. Allen-Taylor scored seven of her 12 points in the third quarter.
Texas A&M's Aaliyah Wilson had a game-high 17 points. Jones added 16, and Jordan Nixon had 11.
Said Jones, who ended her postgame availability with the Horns Down gesture: "We emptied the tank. Also, it was not all about us. We wear a name on our jersey, and we knew that Aggies all over were watching. We really wanted this one for them."
Tip-ins: Texas forced 18 turnovers but recorded all seven of its steals in the second half. ... Up next for the Horns is a home game against Idaho (2-0) on Wednesday afternoon. ... UT freshman forward DeYona Gaston had the first start of her career Sunday. ... Texas holds a 62-24 lead in the all-time series with Texas A&M. The two teams had last played in 2014.