No. 12 Texas has a field day on Field Trip day in 88-47 win over Southeast Missouri
Texas took care of a couple of thousand kids and the Southeast Missouri Redhawks on Wednesday afternoon.
Four Longhorns scored at least 11 points as No. 12 Texas coasted to an 88-47 win in its first-ever meeting with Southeast Missouri, improving to 3-0 for the second straight season.
The Erwin Center matinee was seen by an announced crowd of 4,854. The majority of those fans were fourth-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders who were participating in the annual Forty Acres Field Trip.
"It was cardboard cutouts in the stands (because of the pandemic last season)," joked UT's Shay Holle, an Austin native who grew up attending Longhorns games but never as part of a Forty Acres Field Trip. "So having all those kids and it being really loud was a lot of fun."
Texas, like it did in the season opener — a 131-36 win over New Orleans on Nov. 9 — was hosting an overmatched opponent. Unlike New Orleans, however, Southeast Missouri hung with the Longhorns for a few minutes.
Texas never trailed, but the Redhawks did miss an early shot that would have given them a 7-6 lead. Still, the Longhorns led 19-12 after the first quarter despite scoring just one point in the final 3:30.
"We definitely had a slow start, dragging our feet," senior forward Lauren Ebo said. "It's great that we won, but it's not the way we wanted to win, with our defense and making shots and lay-ups and free throws and whatnot."
In the second quarter, Texas looked more like the 12th-ranked team in the country and Southeast Missouri looked more like the team that was picked to finish sixth in the Ohio Valley Conference. UT outscored SEMO 23-6 in the quarter to take a 42-18 lead into halftime.
In the second quarter, Texas shot 55.6% from the field. Defensively, Texas forced eight turnovers and turned those into 12 points. The Longhorns also got a boost from Holle, who came off the bench and scored five points in the first two minutes.
"I thought Shay was much better today than she's been all year, but Shay's been practicing better," Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. "She's been getting better. She's, what I call, she's staying in the picture."
Schaefer said Holle and fellow guard Aliyah Matharu ran UT's scout team ahead of last week's game at No. 3 Stanford. Fittingly, Matharu came off the bench and knocked down four 3-pointers in Sunday's 61-56 win.
Three days later, it was Holle's turn to step up. The Westlake product finished with eight points, four rebounds and three assists. She played 26 minutes, which led Texas and was a career-high.
Last month, Schaefer said he needed Holle to rebound and play defense this season. If she scored a few points along the way, that would be a welcomed bonus.
"Whether that's in practice for game prep, or actually getting more minutes on the floor. Whatever it is, I want to be willing to do it," Holle said. "If we need a defensive style for that game or someone to shoot the three, I just want to be able to fill those spots."
Joanne Allen-Taylor finished with 13 points to pace the Longhorns, whose lead never dipped below 24 points in the second half. Ebo, Matharu and Rori Harmon all added 11 points, and Ebo snagged 10 rebounds. Defensively, Texas forced 27 turnovers.
"I'm not certainly gonna be unhappy about winning by 41," Schaefer said. He did, however, point out that he felt Texas was out-of-sync in the first half and described the team's execution as "really poor." And now the Longhorns have injury issues, too.
Aaliyah Moore, the freshman forward who has started every game, limped off the court in the second quarter and did not return. And freshman guard Kyndall Hunter (ankle) and sophomore guard Kobe King-Hawea (foot) both missed the game and were seen wearing protective boots.
Schaefer did not have an update on Moore's status after the game, but hoped aloud that both Hunter and King-Hawea would be available soon.
Tip-ins: Sophomore center Femme Masudi had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting. Masudi, who is from Congo, lost her grandmother this week, Schaefer said. ... Ebo's double-double was her first since the 2019-20 season when she was playing at Penn State. ... Jaliyah Green led SEMO with 12 points. ... Texas travels to No. 16 Tennessee on Sunday.