No. 25 Texas puts up 131 points in a season-opening blowout of New Orleans
After flirting with history on Tuesday night, Texas settled for just a spectacular start to its women's basketball season.
Kyndall Hunter made the most of her freshman debut and five Longhorns scored in double figures as No. 25 Texas opened with a 131-36 win over New Orleans at the Erwin Center. It was the second-most points scored in program history and it was UT's second-biggest blowout ever behind a 135-37 win over Centenary in 2000.
"It was just so fun to be out there," UT guard Joanne Allen-Taylor said. "So fun to be a part of. Ready for the next one."
Ranked 25th in the Associated Press' preseason poll, Texas (1-0) played New Orleans (0-1) for 40 minutes on Tuesday. Those are college basketball's rules. Only five minutes were needed to determine the outcome, though.
Over the first five minutes, Texas jumped out to a 17-0 lead. Four different Longhorns contributed to a score more commonly found on a football scoreboard, and freshmen Aaliyah Moore and Latasha Lattimore both recorded the first points of their collegiate careers.
At the end of the first quarter, Texas led 30-6. That lead swelled to 64 points by halftime.
In the first half, Hunter herself outscored New Orleans 21-13. She did not enter the game until the 6:55 mark of the second quarter. She hit seven of her eight 3-point attempts.
Hunter did not attempt another 3-pointer after halftime. Her seven threes were still good enough for a fifth-place tie on the single-game chart at Texas.
"(The hoop) looks pretty good when your teammates get you wide open," said Hunter, who finished with a team-high 27 points over 14 minutes and 19 seconds of playing time.
Texas point guard Rori Harmon, who was Hunter's teammate at Houston Cypress Creek, said "I'm going to look for Kyndall always. Especially if she's on fire, that's who I'm going to look for. I know if she makes one three, I've got to keep trying to find her."
New Orleans never got closer than 59 points in the second half. Texas hit the 100-point mark for the 72nd time in school history on a Shay Holle basket with 44 seconds left in the third quarter.
In addition to Hunter, Texas got double-digit scoring efforts from Aliyah Matharu (18 points), Allen-Taylor (15), DeYona Gaston (12) and Lattimore (11). Harmon dished eight assists on an offense that shot 61% from the field. Defensively, Texas scored 62 points off 38 turnovers.
"I'll knock on wood here a little bit. It ain't going to be that easy most nights," Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. "It is a whole lot easier to coach and it's a whole lot easier to play when you've got multiple weapons on the floor. I think that's what's exciting about this team."
Schaefer only took issue with UT's 24-for-43 performance from the free throw line. So apparently Texas aced its first test of the season. New Orleans, though, was nothing more than an entry-level exam for the Longhorns. A Southland Conference representative, New Orleans went 6-15 last season.
Things will get tougher for Texas. Quickly, in fact.
On Sunday, Texas will hit the road and head to No. 3 Stanford, the NCAA's defending champion.
"A different monster coming down the pipe on Sunday," Schaefer said. "We better be ready for that."
Stanford is 8-5 all-time vs. Texas. When these two teams last met in December 2019, Texas pulled off an upset of a Cardinal team that topped the AP's poll.
Tip-ins: New Orleans was led by Brianna Ellis' 19 points. ... Gaston grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. ... All 14 players on the Texas roster made an appearance on Tuesday. Walk-on Anissa Gutierrez got into the game with under two minutes to go.