AUSTIN, Texas — Texas center Charli Collier had 23 points and a career-high 20 rebounds, making her the first UT player since 2012 with 20 or more in each category, to lead the Texas women's basketball team to a much-needed conference victory over TCU, 71-54, Wednesday at the Frank Erwin Center.
The victory improved the Longhorns' overall record to 10-3, and their conference record to 4-2. The Horned Frogs fell to 6-6 overall, and 1-6 in games against Big 12 opponents.
Collier's double-double was her ninth of the season. While she was not impressed after going just 6-of-22 from the field, head coach Vic Schaefer had nothing but rave reviews for her performance.
"Man, 20 rebounds — that's a full night's work right there," Schaefer said. [Collier] did a great job for us. You got to love her tenacity and her ability to pursue the basketball. It wasn't like they weren't real big. They had some big kids on the other team tonight and she's down there battling tooth and nail."
The question for Schaefer was who else, besides Collier, would emerge to lead his team. He found the answer in guards Joanne Allen-Taylor and Celeste Taylor, who scored 18 and 14 points, respectively. Just six players scored for Texas; Kyra Lambert and Lauren Ebooks scored six points each, and Karisma Ortiz chipped in with four.
In a week in which the Horns dropped out of the AP top 25 following consecutive road losses, Schaefer made it clear to his team that this was the time to turn it around. Coming into the matchup, TCU was just 1-5 in Big 12 play, but as the Longhorns learned from recent losses at the hands of West Virginia and Texas Tech, no team in the Big 12 should ever be underestimated.
"You know, I don't really talk about a lot of that," Schaefer said. "I respect everybody and I think they get that with my demeanor and focus in practice. I think they know when they step between the lines, it's time to go to work. I did remind them that [TCU] jumped out on Texas Tech, 20-4, in Lubbock. So we needed to be ready to play. Other than that, that's all we talked about."
Texas took a 16-14 lead by the time the first quarter buzzer had sounded, but in the second quarter, the Longhorns opened it up, outscoring the Horned Frogs 22-10, behind 43 percent shooting. The Horns took a 38-24 lead into the half, in part because they managed not to send the Frogs to the free throw line once in the quarter. Allen-Taylor proved to be the focal point of Texas' offensive attack, hitting all four shots from the field in the quarter.
"It makes a difference when our guards can hit shots," Collier said. "When I'm getting double-teamed, it is up to me to find open shots. When you have great teammates like I do, it makes it so much easier to find open shots."
Using that second quarter momentum, the Horns rode to their largest victory in conference play, outscoring their opponents in each of the next two quarters, and outrebounding the Frogs, 23-17. Though Schaefer described his team's play in the fourth quarter as "lethargic," he said he was impressed by the defensive effort and overall performance from his team.
"I love 54 points, I love that we held them to 35 percent shooting and I love the fact that put them on the line only 12 times," Schaefer said.
Texas plays at Iowa State Wednesday. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. (Central time) in the game, which will be shown on ESPN2.
"It's hard to play in Ames," Collier said. "So we have to come out with a lot of intensity. We have to come out of the gates really strong, compete with them and run the floor."
Texas Longhorns WBB Courtside against TCU
(photos: courtesy of texassports.com)