Texas coach Karen Aston had said the Longhorns used the last week to recharge their batteries for the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
Friday, the Longhorns revved their buzzsaw into high gear as they began sawing apart the base of the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears’ 17-game winning streak in s matter of minutes.
Third-seeded Texas, too tall, too deep and too overall talented for the 14th-seeded Sugar Bears, built a 28-4 lead after a quarter on the way to a 48-20 halftime lead, leading to a 78-50 victory in a Lexington Regional’s first-round game on the Longhorns’ home court at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
The UCA women. making their second straight NCAA appearance after winning the Southland tournament title for the second straight year, ended one of the most successful seasons at 26-5. The Longhorns (24-8) advance to Sunday’s second round at North Carolina State.
All 11 players who played for Texas scored and each played at least 11 minutes as Aston substituted freely.
“I loved the way we pushed the tempo the first half, just our intensity and attention to detail,” said Aston, who began her coaching career at Vilonia High School. “Then, we had a little bit at the half. We do understand that is something that can’t happen again for us to advance farther.”
Totally dominated the first half, the UCA women came out with some spunk the second half, cutting the deficit to 17 at one point and keeping the Longhorns from extending their lead past 30. The Sugar Bears outscored Texas, 16-7, the third quarter.
Several statistics told the story: The Longhorns, one of the tallest teams in the tourney, dominated the Sugar Bears, one of the smallest, 40-18 in points in the paint. They had a 30-18 advantage in bench points and were 18-9 on second-chance points.
Texas blocked 11 shots on the way to holding UCA to a 31.7 percent shooting effort. Texas hit 13 of its first 16 shots. The Sugar Bears hit only two of their first 17 shots.
“We were sending five people to the board and they still were able to jump over us and get the rebound.” said UCA senior guard Maggie Proffitt.
Proffitt finished her UCA career with 17 points but one of the best 3-pointer shooters in school and Southland Conference history, going 0 for 2 from long range. Taylor Baudoin, who steadied UCA in the second half, had 14 and seven rebounds. Senior Brianna Mullins picked up three fouls in the first quarter and had five points of 1-of-7 shooting. UCA post Kierra Jordan was 2 of 12 from the field.
Brooke McCarty the Big 12 Player of the Year, scored 15 points for Texas. Jordan Holmes added 12, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks.Post Kelsey Lang had 10.
“I want people to know that no one in our locker room is is pleased with our performance, effort-wise, but that does not define our season,” said UCA coach Sandra Rushing. “I’m so proud of these young ladies and what they’ve accomplished. That’s what they need to remember, not today’s game.”