Texas Women’s Basketball vs. Penn – NCAA Championship Gameday Preview

No. 5 seed Texas opens NCAA Championship play against No. 12 seed Penn on Sunday. (Image via University of Texas Athletics - TexasSports.com)
No. 5 seed Texas opens NCAA Championship play against No. 12 seed Penn on Sunday. (Image via University of Texas Athletics - TexasSports.com)

NCAA Championship First Round
Game 33: No. 5 seed Texas (21-11) vs. No. 12 seed Penn (22-6)

Sunday, March 23 • 2 p.m. Central
College Park, Md. • Comcast Center

• Texas Women's Basketball makes its 27th NCAA Championship appearance, and first under second-year head coach Karen Aston, on Sunday in the first round against Penn (2 p.m. Central, ESPN) in College Park, Md. The Longhorns are tied for fourth in all-time NCAA Championship appearances with Louisiana Tech and Vanderbilt.
• In its first 26 appearances, Texas holds a 16-10 record when playing its opening game in the NCAA Championship. The Longhorns are seeking their first win the tournament since 2008. Texas is a No. 5 seed for the third time in program history (2-2 record).
• Head coach Karen Aston is making her second appearance in the NCAA Championship as a head coach. Aston took Charlotte to the big dance in 2009. She helped guide Texas to the 2003 Final Four as an associate head coach under Hall of Fame coach Jody Conradt.
• 17 of UT's 32 games this season have been against 2014 NCAA Championship participants (8-9 record).
• Sunday's game marks the first meeting between Texas and Penn. It is the Longhorns' second contest against an Ivy League opponent in program history.
• Texas' 21 wins is a nine-win improvement from last season's 12-18 campaign. UT's record is tied for the second-best one-year win improvement in program history.
• Texas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (.343), rebounding defense (32.9 rpg allowed) and ranks 3rd in scoring defense (59.7 ppg allowed). The Longhorns rank 5th in the nation in rebound margin (+11.6).
• Texas leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.365, 176-482 3FG). Last season, Texas finished last in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.278, 102-367 3FG).
• Texas ranks second in the Big 12 in overall assists (478; 14.9 apg). UT's 14.9 assists per game are the most since averaging 15.9 during the 1998-99 season.
• Junior forward Nneka Enemkpali leads Texas in rebounding (8.8 rpg) and scoring (12.3 ppg). Enemkpali earned All-Big 12 First Team honors this season.
• Sophomore center Imani McGee-Stafford is UT's second-leading scorer (10.6 ppg). McGee-Stafford earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors this season.
• Senior guard Chassidy Fussell was named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention this season as UT's third-leading scorer (10.4 ppg). Fussell enters NCAA Championship play with 1,695 career points, needing 10 to enter the UT's top-10 career scoring list.

James Schleicher

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.