Women’s basketball falls short at West Virginia, 92-58

10 Jan By
Texas center Charli Collier had as many fouls — five — as points in the Longhorns' 92-58 loss Saturday at West Virginia (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

MORGANTOWN, W.Va — The No. 17 Texas women's basketball team allowed West Virginia to shoot 56.5 percent from the floor, its best shooting night of the season, and leading scorer Charli Collier battled foul trouble in a 92-58 loss to the Mountaineers Saturday at WVU Coliseum.

After the game, each team's record stood at 8-2. Texas suffered its first loss in three games against Big 12 opponents, while West Virginia evened its conference record at 2-2.

“We didn’t have a competitive spirit,” head coach Vic Schaefer said. “I thought they (West Virginia) were really aggressive, and we struggled with that, obviously.”

At times, it seemed that the Longhorns were too aggressive, as Collier picked up three fouls in the first half, and was limited to just five points in 21 minutes of action.

From the opening tip to the final buzzer, West Virginia dominated. Texas held the lead for 49 seconds the entire contest, after point guard Kyra Lambert nailed a jumper on the Horns' first possession. Once Collier got into foul trouble, Schaefer had few players to whom he could turn, as neither forward Audrey Warren nor forward/center Lauren Ebo made the cross-country trip.

Texas lost the game in the paint. The Horns were outrebounded, 40-26, and the Mountaineers scored 48 points in the paint, compared to Texas' 30. On top of that, Texas shot just 40 percent from the field. That percentage is not bad — UT is shooting .447 as a team for the season — but not good enough considering West Virginia's hot shooting on the other end.

“You can go down our stat sheet. We got a bunch of shooters that shot the ball, but they didn’t make anything,” Schaefer said. “It ain’t about shots. It’s about makes.”

Sam Ehlinger Tribute

The game was within reach at the end of the first quarter, with West Virginia leading, 24-18, but the Mountaineers opened it up in the second, outscoring their opponents, 22-11, to head to the locker room with a 46-29 lead. But it was the third quarter that sealed the victory, as Texas went cold shooting, and was outscored 28-9. The Longhorns hit just three of 12 shots in the quarter, and missed all three three-pointers they attempted.

Schaefer told the media postgame that he did not feel that his team gave up in the second half, but it did seem to lack the fire it had in previous games.

"I don't think they quit," Schaefer said. "But it was hard. It's been a long time since I've been taken to the woodshed like that. There were times I was looking out there thinking, 'Who is that? 'Why are we doing that?' I couldn't get them to change, that's what is frustrating as a coach. You're calling timeouts, talking to them, and you just can't get them to change."

Giving up 92 points was the most Texas had allowed this season. Schaefer vividly remembers the last time his team gave up 90-plus points, to Connecticut in the Sweet 16 when he was head coached Mississippi State. After that, he vowed it would not happen again. He expressed a similar mentality following Saturday's loss.

"We got punched tonight, and we didn't respond," Schaefer said. "I talked ot them about that after the game. This is now about how you respond. When things are going really good, it's easy. But in life, you're going to get punched. So we've got to go back, watch the film, learn, look at ourselves. I'm accountable. But they, too, as players, need to see what it looked like, and then we got to go fix it."

Guard Joanne Allen-Taylor led the Horns with 12 points, and forward DeYona Gaston pulled down a team-best six rebounds.

With Tuesday's contest against Oklahoma postponed, Texas will face TCU in Austin at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Horned Frogs are 5-5 on the season and winless in Big 12 play at 0-5.

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, his personal blog 360 Sports, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. Twitter: @ZayasRiley