'I just play hard': Joanne Allen-Taylor sparks No. 15 Texas to a 68-47 win at TCU
FORT WORTH — Last week, Joanne Allen-Taylor didn't score in Texas' basketball game against West Virginia.
The pointless performance on Jan. 15 was Allen-Taylor's first since her sophomore season. Yet Texas coach Vic Schaefer wouldn't pull his senior guard off the court. Schaefer even insisted he hadn't noticed that Allen-Taylor missed her six shots during the 73-57 win, in which she sat for just 35 seconds.
One week later, Allen-Taylor worked another long shift for the Longhorns. This time, though, it was likely that Schaefer and an announced crowd of 2,228 at Schollmaier Arena took notice of her offensive production.
Allen-Taylor's 14 points paced the Longhorns in a 68-47 win at TCU. The victory was UT's third over a conference opponent in an eight-day span.
"I think right now we're really locked in defensively, and it's shown," Allen-Taylor said. "We stopped turning over the ball as much as we did, and it looks better."
Allen-Taylor actually got off work a little early Saturday as Schaefer replaced her with 4:35 left in the game. But that was the first appearance on the bench for Allen-Taylor, who was the nation's leader in minutes played last season.
Twelve of Allen-Taylor's points were scored during the second and third quarters, and she led the Longhorns in scoring during both of those sessions. As time wound down in both the first and third quarters, Allen-Taylor hit a last-second shot for Texas (14-3, 4-2 Big 12).
Allen-Taylor added five assists to Saturday's box score. She ran the offense as UT's point guard in the second half after Rori Harmon left the game with a back injury.
"Somewhere along the line Jo got moved over to the wing, but when I recruited her (at Mississippi State), I recruited her as a point guard," Schaefer said. "She probably likes playing over there on the wing some, but I know she's got the IQ, she's got the basketball mentality."
Earlier in the week, Schaefer said he didn't pull Allen-Taylor from the West Virginia game because of her on-court presence and intangibles. When told at Saturday's postgame press conference about those comments, Allen-Taylor replied "that's nice of him to say." Seated to Allen-Taylor's left, Schaefer quickly retorted, "But I would like for you to score."
"I just play hard," Allen-Taylor said. "Whether I'm scoring or not, I just want the best for each and every one of us. If that comes from me, OK. But if it doesn't, I'm just going to play my part, support my teammates and do what I'm supposed to do on the court."
On Saturday, Texas had built a 38-19 lead by halftime. TCU had UT within arm's reach for much of the first half, but an odd sequence in the second quarter helped Texas pull away.
With 4:06 left in the quarter, Audrey Warren was called for an offensive foul. TCU was primed to get the basketball with Texas up 25-17.
However, it was determined after a review that TCU's Okako Adika had committed an intentional foul during the play. Warren hit the two free throws she was awarded for Adika's infraction. Texas was also allowed to keep possession of the basketball, and DeYona Gaston scored four seconds later to give the Longhorns a 12-point advantage.
Texas led by as many as 28 points in the second half. The Horned Frogs were unable to get any closer than 17.
In addition to Allen-Taylor's offensive output, Texas received 13 points from Warren. Lauren Ebo, who had just returned to practice Friday after missing Wednesday's win at No. 7 Iowa State because of COVID-19 protocols, came off the bench and contributed 10 points while grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds. Allen-Taylor, Warren and Ebo are UT's three seniors.
"If those (seniors) will play right, if they can string them together, we'll have a chance every night," Schaefer said. "When two or three of them don't play well, it's a struggle. It's a big struggle bus."
Against Texas, TCU (6-9, 2-4) was guilty of 19 turnovers and shot just 34.8% from the field. Lauren Heard led the Horned Frogs with 12 points.
"So definitely, opportunity for us to learn," TCU coach Raegan Pebley said. "We know that Texas isn't the only team in our conference that likes to play this (aggressive) way. But it's the first team that we played in our conference that likes to play this way."
Tip-ins: Texas freshman forward Latasha Lattimore (illness) did not travel with the team. ... Warren, who attended a Fort Worth high school, added four assists and four rebounds. Warren said afterwards that she had nine people out her homecoming... UT committed only eight turnovers the entire game. ... Next up on the Longhorns' schedule is a home game against Kansas State on Wednesday.