No. 5 Women’s Basketball opens home conference slate with 86-62 victory over Texas Tech

03 Jan By
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(image via texasSports.com)

(image via texasSports.com)

AUSTIN, Texas – Senior Imani Boyette posted her sixth double-double of the season with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and junior Kelsey Lang joined her with a season-high 13 points and eight rebounds to lead the No. 5/6 Longhorns past Texas Tech, 86-62, in the conference home opener on Saturday night at the Frank Erwin Center.

With the win, the Longhorns (13-0, 2-0 Big 12 Conference) tie last year's squad for the third-best start in program history and are only six games away from the 1,000 victory milestone, an accomplishment achieved by only four other Division I programs in history. Texas leads the all-time series against Texas Tech, 66-29, and has won the last five consecutive meetings.

Texas has won two consecutive games to start Big 12 Conference play in back-to-back years for the first time since 2002-03 and 2003-04. Only two other Big 12 opponents, Iowa State and TCU, have started 2-0 in conference play this season.

"I thought for the second game in a row we got off to a really good start. That makes our team feel really good about themselves. We did that in West Virginia, and we did that tonight," said Texas head coach Karen Aston. "I give [Texas] Tech a lot of credit for how difficult they were to defend. Japreece [Dean] had a really good night, and their guards are just hard to guard. I thought our bigs were a huge presence tonight and were probably the difference in the game. In the second half we were able to get in transition and hit some shots, so I felt like we had good balance tonight."

Boyette led all scorers with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks on the night with only one turnover. The senior now has 1,124 points in her career, moving her up to 31st place on the all-scoring list.

Lang had a record night with a season-high 13 points and eight rebounds. She also added two assists and a block for the game.

Senior Empress Davenport and sophomore Ariel Atkins rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 points and 11 points, respectively. Junior Brianna Taylor totaled seven points and tacked on a season-high 10 rebounds, while senior Celina Rodrigo added six points and five assists for the night.

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As a team, Texas shot 47.7 percent (31-for-65) from the field while holding Texas Tech to a 36.1 shooting percentage (26-for-72). The Horns outrebounded the Lady Raiders, 46-34, and have outrebounded their opponents in 12 of 13 games this season.

Texas Tech (9-4, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) was led by freshman Japreece Dean with 21 points.

Texas opened the game on a 9-0 run aided by early foul trouble from the Lady Raiders. Texas would only allow two baskets in the first five minutes and head into the first media timeout with a 13-4 advantage. Texas Tech would go on an 8-2 rally in the heart of the opening quarter, but freshman Jordan Hosey and Atkins would come off from the bench to help Texas close out the first quarter, 17-12.

Texas Tech would continue to battle back behind strong shooting from behind the arc, and a three-pointer from sophomore Brielle Blaire would make it a two-point game at the 6:11 mark. The Longhorns would respond with a three-point conversion from Atkins and a deep three from Rodrigo would extend the lead to eight (30-22) with five minutes left in the half. Lang would record the next six points for the Horns, including a jumper at the buzzer to send Texas into the locker room with a 36-29 lead.

The teams would continue to trade baskets early in the third, and a three-point play from Boyette would give Texas a 48-39 advantage at the first timeout. Sophomore Tasia Foman would enter the game for the Longhorns, contributing three points to extend the margin to 13 (56-43) with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter. A jumper from Davenport would close out the third, 59-45.

Davenport would get things rolling in the final quarter with a three, but Texas Tech would then go on a 7-0 run to force a Longhorn timeout. Texas would quickly get the momentum shifted back in their favor with their own 7-0 spurt to lead by 17 (70-53) with five minutes remaining in regulation. The Longhorns would continue to expand this margin, claiming 10 more points from the line, to close out the match, 86-62.

The Longhorns will remain at home as they host Iowa State on Wednesday inside the Frank Erwin Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally by Longhorn Network.

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.