Overtime loss to Kansas at the Erwin Center leaves No. 13 Texas searching for answers
In the new year, Wednesdays have been woeful for Texas.
On Jan. 5, Texas Tech recorded a 74-61 win at the Erwin Center over a Texas team that was No. 9 in the country at the time. That was the Lady Raiders' first win over a Top 10 team since 2011.
One week later, Kansas outlasted Texas, which is now No. 13, in overtime Wednesday night. The 70-66 triumph was the Jayhawks' first win on the road over a ranked opponent and first victory in Austin since 2012.
The Longhorns (11-3) have lost two of their first three conference games.
"We probably played pretty hard, but playing hard don't win," UT coach Vic Schaefer said. "We just have too many mistakes right now."
Against the Jayhawks, Texas missed 13 3-pointers. The Longhorns were outmuscled and outscored by a 36-14 margin in the paint. A rare decision by Schaefer to play a zone defense led to a 3-pointer that gave Kansas a 59-56 lead late in the fourth quarter.
But the mistakes Schaefer was referring to were turnovers. Texas committed a season-high 23, and Kansas converted them into 18 points.
A basketball coach for nearly four decades, Schaefer turned into a mathematician while speaking about those turnovers. The 20-turnover game was UT's third of the season. (Texas had 22 in Sunday's 93-58 win over UT Rio Grande Valley.)
"Let's just say we don't turn it over but 15 times," Schaefer said. "Well, that's eight more shots that we get. If we shoot 40%, we're going to make three of them and we're going to win the game. We just have a real issue right now with turning the ball over."
The biggest of UT's turnovers was recorded in overtime. Trailing 66-63 in the final minute, Texas had the basketball and a chance to tie the game or chip into the Kansas lead.
But Rori Harmon, the Longhorns' freshman point guard, dribbled her way into a shot-clock violation. Texas was then forced to foul after the turnover, Kansas made a free throw on the other end, and the Longhorns never got closer than three points.
"I just lost track of time," Harmon said.
In the overtime period, Kansas was boosted by two layups from junior guard Holly Kersgieter. Kansas made three of the four shots it attempted after the end of regulation. The Jayhawks also knocked down four free throws.
The win was the second in three days for Kansas, which beat TCU in Fort Worth on Monday. The Jayhawks also played a home game against Oklahoma on Saturday.
"All of us played AAU before," Kansas guard Aniya Thomas said when asked about the Jayhawks' packed schedule. "We just got to have the right mentality just to go through those days."
Kersgieter finished with a game-high 19 points. Guard Joanne Allen-Taylor led the Longhorns with 18 points.
UT guard Aliyah Matharu contributed 11 points and hit an overtime-forcing 3-pointer with nine seconds left in regulation. Matharu, however, played only 11 minutes. The junior picked up three quick fouls in the second quarter, which led to Schaefer saying that he wasn't pleased with his leading scorer's on-court effort.
Schaefer also preached in his postgame press conference about the "accountability and responsibility" of wearing the Texas uniform. Seated to Schaefer's right was Harmon, who interjected that this was now a matter of pride.
"It's not just having pride to be at Texas, you've got to have pride in yourself," Harmon said. "You can have pride for playing for Texas as much as you want, but if you don't have pride in yourself, then it's not going to get anywhere."
Tip-ins: Texas will host West Virginia (8-5, 1-2) on Saturday night. ... Eighteen of UT's 23 turnovers were committed by a starter. ... Schaefer praised the performance of sophomore forward DeYona Gaston, who had 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting. ... Thomas, the lone Texan on the Kansas roster, scored 11 points. She hails from Duncanville.