Balanced attack lifts women’s basketball past Iowa State, 74-59

03 Jan By
College World Series
Guard Joanne Allen-Taylor scored a team-high 16 points to help lift the Texas women's basketball team to a 74-59 victory over Iowa State (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

AUSTIN, Texas — Five Longhorns scored in double figures Sunday to lead the No. 19 Texas women's basketball team to a 74-59 victory over Iowa State at the Frank Erwin Center.

With the victory, Texas improved to 8-1 overall, and 2-0 in games against Big 12 opponents. The Cyclones fell to 6-4 overall and 2-1 in conference games.

"I'm really proud of my team," Texas head coach Vic Schaefer said. "I have a lot of respect for (Iowa State) Coach (Bill) Fennelly and his staff, and his players. They're really difficult to deal with."

Texas center Charli Collier, the Longhorns' top scorer this season, was defended well all afternoon, as the Cyclones' post players put together a strong performance. Collier scored 14 points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.

Both teams pulled down exactly 24 defensive rebounds, but UT held the overall edge on the glass, with 43 rebounds compared to 31 for Iowa State. But the Longhorn guards, a group with which head coach Vic Schaefer was displeased following Tuesday's win over Lamar, stepped up in a big way. Texas shot an impressive 45 percent from three-point range, and guard Joanne Allen-Taylor played all 40 minutes, scoring a team-high 16 points. It was the first time Allen-Taylor had played 40 minutes during her Texas career.

"My confidence is way higher than last season," Allen-Taylor told the media. "When you have a coach that is putting you in better positions, that is more curtailed to the way I play the game, [it helps]. When you're playing the whole game, you get a whole bunch of opportunites."

"She was my iron woman tonight," Schaefer said of Allen-Taylor.

Guard Karisma Ortiz matched Collier's 14 points. Forward DeYona Gaston scored 13, and guard Kyra Lambert added 10.

Unlike in previous contests, in which the post players guided Texas to a win, Schaefer felt that the guard play was the difference in the victory.

"Our guards made shots tonight," Schaefer said. "That's going to make life a whole lot easier for Charli. If they're going to double- and triple-team her down there, then they're going to have to pay for it."

From the opening tip, Texas was ingrained in a battle with a physical Iowa State squad, which at times this season had been ranked in the top 25. The Cyclones raced out to a 7-3 lead early, and closed out the first quarter on a 6-0 run, taking a 20-16 lead to the break. Schaefer said he did not see a lot that he liked out of his squad in the first half, as the Horns barely led, 36-33, at the half, thanks to an Ortiz three-pointer that swished through the net with 27 seconds to play.

But something Schaefer told his team at the half must have invigorated the Horns, who finished the contest with 17 forced turnovers that translated into 18 points.

"We gave up a lot of backdoor stuff, a lot of easy stuff early," Schaefer said. "I though our press was effective. It wore them down. It makes them work the entire length of the floor."

As the guards continued to carry the team throughout the second half, UT's defense was simply too much to overcome, never allowing ISU to get within more than nine points. The Cyclones certainly tried, cutting the deficit to single digits with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter, but Collier scored six straight points as the Longhorns gutted out the 15-point victory.

Schaefer said he continuously emphasizes the Big 12's tough nature to his squad. As he likes to put it, if you lose in conference play, "you're not going to get beat, you're going to get embarrassed."

Schaefer can assess his team's performance without the box score, and sometimes gives the impression he would like nobody to look at the box score after a game. Schaefer cares less about how well his team shot from the floor, and more about the effort and hustle with which they set up those shots.

"We have got to embrace being the blue-collar, physical, tough, hard-nosed basketball team," Schaefer said. "When someone describes you as a tough, physical, aggressive basketball team, that doesn't say anything about your skill set. That's who I want us to be."

Two players, forward/center Lauren Ebooks and forward Audrey Warren, were missing from UT's rotation Sunday. Texas did welcome back guard Celeste Taylor, who scored five points in 27 minutes and added four steals. Schaefer has yet to see what his squad might look like with all 11 players at his disposal.

Said Schaefer postgame: "We're still waiting to have 11 players for a week and see how good we can become."

Texas hits the road once against next week to battle West Virginia in Morgantown next Saturday in a game for which the starting time has yet to be announced. The Mountaineers are 7-2 and defeated Oklahoma Sunday.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. He currently serves as the Managing Editor of True To The Cru, covering UMHB athletics. Twitter: @ZayasRiley