Tuesday evening marked the Longhorns final non-conference matchup before beginning Big 12 play and Karen Aston’s squad took advantage of the much smaller Owls. Senior post Nneka Enemkpali led the Texas with a double-double, tallying 14 points and 14 boards. Guards Empress Davenport and Brooke McCarty backed up the forward with 13 apiece.
After recent remarks about not being so sure about her team’s lofty ranking, Karen Aston has to be pleased with what she saw from her team against Rice. Missing starter, and co-leading scorer, sophomore center Kelsey Lang, the Longhorns went small and were able to take advantage. Rice was game for most of the afternoon, only losing the rebounding battle 50-45 but, in the end, talent won out.
Enemkpali became the obvious focus with Lang out and she responded well, continuing her recent hot streak of five straight double-doubles while also extended her streak of consecutive games with double digit rebounds to 6. She took up space and occupied the defense, taking 11 shots and grabbing 5 o-boards but she saved her best for the other end. At 6’1″, coming in an inch shorter than Rice’s tallest player, Nneka grabbed 9 defensive boards while adding 3 blocks and 2 steals. Junior guard Brady Sanders won’t get much pub but she continued what’s been an impressive season. She’s recorded at least one assist in each game she’s played this season and did a great job moving the ball, recording a season-high 6 assists versus just 2 turnovers, after having none in the last game.
Freshman guard and 2014 McDonald’s High School All-American Brooke McCarty has been a revelation for this Longhorns squad and she added to her strong first season in Austin by coming off the bench and hitting 6 of her 8 shots. What’s likely most impressive is the 5’4″ guard finished with 2 blocks as well. We also got our first look at junior forward Sara Hattis, who joined the team after a run to the Final Four with the women’s volleyball squad. Hattis, a 6’4″ athlete, quickly made her presence known, showing off that great volleyball timing in grabbing 3 boards and 1 impressive block in 4 minutes.
Junior forward Alyssa Lang led the Owls with 17 points and 9 boards. The Owls only put one other player in double digits–junior guard Breion Allen added 12 points, including 3 three-pointers–as no one scored more than 6 points. 10th year head coach Greg Williams team was unable to overcome 28% shooting versus the Longhorns as they dropped to 5-6 on the year.