No. 11 Texas crushes Idaho and insists afterwards that 'our standard is very high now'
When Texas met for practice on Monday, the Longhorns had already noted their place in the Associated Press' most recent poll.
Texas was No. 11. It was the highest ranking for the Longhorns since the 2018-19 season.
Before the workout, head coach Vic Schaefer told his players to savor that status. Yes, the Longhorns have visions of becoming an elite program. But for now, Schaefer implored anyone who was listening to "live (that No. 11 ranking) on the floor, live it in practice, live it in every game, live it off the floor, live it in the classroom."
Five days later, Texas rolled to an 83-43 win over Idaho. With the victory at the Erwin Center on Saturday, the Longhorns improved to 7-1.
Were the Longhorns living up to that No. 11 ranking? While sitting on the podium at the postgame press conference and jotting down the pros and cons that both she and her team showed in the 40-point win, Rori Harmon said no. The freshman point guard argued that the Longhorns are close, though.
"Our standards have raised, like our standard is very high now," Harmon said. "Our practices have been getting better. The one closer to the game wasn't as good, but we're learning fast.
"I would say we will be that team 11, we'll look like it soon."
Early on, Idaho hung with Texas. At one point, Vandals senior Tiana Johnson was even outscoring Texas by a score of 8-7.
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Down 12-11 at the first media timeout, Texas eventually warmed up. The Longhorns led 26-16 by the end of the opening quarter. By halftime, Texas held a 48-26 lead.
The Longhorns did not take their feet off the gas after halftime. Before the second half technically started, the Longhorns forced Idaho to commit a five-second inbounds violation. Over the first five minutes of the third quarter, Texas extended its lead to 26 points as Idaho committed seven turnovers and had as many points as UT freshman forward Latasha Lattimore had blocks (two).
Texas had a 66-36 advantage by the end of the third quarter. Idaho never got any closer than 28 points in the final frame.
"We played as a team, everybody got a touch," Lattimore said. "I just feel like we played our heart out."
Texas was led by forward DeYona Gaston, who scored 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Harmon had 13 points and a career-high nine rebounds. Lattimore (12 points) and Aliyah Matharu (10) added double-digit scoring efforts.
Kyndall Hunter also contributed 11 points, three assists and two steals. The freshman guard had missed the previous five games because of an ankle injury.
In her return, Hunter played 20 minutes. She also grabbed some of the playing time that had previously been given to backup point guard Ashley Chevalier, who entered the transfer portal earlier in the week.
"I don't think she took a bad shot," Schaefer said. "I thought she played fine. She gave up some dribble-penetration, but she's got some rust to knock off."
The blowout loss was the seventh straight setback for Idaho, which last recorded a win in its season opener. Johnson's 12 points led Idaho.
The Vandals entered the game averaging 10 3-pointers a game, an average that was No. 8 in the country. Against Texas, Idaho went 6 of 28 on its deep attempts.
Tip-ins: Texas is off until next Sunday's trip to No. 6 Arizona in Las Vegas. ... UT senior center Lauren Ebo started but only appeared in the first and fourth quarters. Schaefer said afterward that he sat her to get Lattimore more time. ... Texas' Audrey Warren recorded four steals. ... Texas announced a crowd of 1,124.