Former Longhorns find new opportunities at home and abroad

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March 12, 2020 is a day that still sticks like glue in Sug Sutton’s mind. Lashann Higgs has felt the same way. So has George Washington. 

For these three, it marked the abrupt conclusion of one journey, and an opportunity to begin another. 

That conclusion was the cancellation of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament due to Covid-19, which also marked the end of head coach Karen Aston’s time on the Forty Acres. That meant Sutton and Higgs finished their college careers without one last opportunity to win a national title. It also left Washington out of a job.

“This particular time was very hard for me because we worked extremely hard the whole season and was looking forward to making a memorable tournament run,” said Sutton. “Also, it was my senior season and it hit me pretty hard, because in high school I also could not complete my senior year because of an injury. So, to have gone through that again, my senior year in college, was tough."

Sutton rolled with the punches and used the multi-month quarantine to improve as she took a huge step up to the next level of basketball. 

“While being quarantined and away from competition for 3-4 months, it allowed me to focus on the mental aspect of my game,” she said. “I spent a lot of time watching film and studying different players, to expand my game. I focused a lot on staying in shape as well, while also getting in some at-home ball-handling and shooting drills on a daily basis.“

Former Texas guard Sug Suttons' senior season ended early when the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the NCAA tournament (photo courtesy of

Sutton was drafted by the Washington Mystics with the 36th overall pick in the WNBA Draft. But when the WNBA opened the season in the "bubble" in Bradenton, Florida, Sutton was no longer a member of the Mystics. 

Riley Zayas

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