For a while Tuesday night, Texas quarterback Shailey Gonzalez couldn’t miss.
A couple of three-point attempts? Nothing but mesh.
Two jumpers? Whistling.
Rollback after the rebound in the attack and the loss, which turned into a simple one? Count them.
Gonzalez set up a shooting for the No. 23 Kansas in the fourth quarter of Texas’ 72–59 win at the Moody Center. This turmoil in the fourth quarter, along with 26 points scored by Gonzalez during the game, gave UT its first win over a ranked opponent this season.
Texas is now 12-5 with wins in three of its four conferences. The Longhorns were only three days away from a disappointing 86–82 loss in Oklahoma State.
“After this loss, we were very upset, went into training, worked our hardest, and we knew we wanted to come out, hit them first and win this game,” Gonzalez said. “I think we played very well as a team and it just shows that we can bounce back after a loss.”
Texas led 41-29 at halftime on Tuesday but only made one of the first 10 shots after halftime. This slump in shooting gave Kansas a four-point lead. However, the Longhorns extended their lead to seven points by the final signal of the third quarter.
Then Gonzalez took over.
Gonzalez made the first six shots in the fourth quarter. A hasty three-pointer with 18 seconds left was her only miss in the frame.
Those six attempts by Gonzalez resulted in 14 points. As a team, Kansas scored 12 points in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Gonzalez noted that her teammates set up good screens in the fourth quarter. This echoes a comment made earlier by Kansas Coach Brandon Schneider.
“We were tested too much,” Schneider said. “Texas has done a great job of installing truly physical screens. You can’t run into the screens, you need to navigate them better and use your teammates and credit Texas for their performance and give her credit for taking the shots.”
Gonzalez missed the first two shots she made on Tuesday night, but has made 11 of her last 14 attempts. Ten of her points came in the second quarter when fellow defense Sonia Morris faced a foul.
26 points was a season-high for Gonzalez. González, with a 5-10 transfer and 10th on the BYU all-time top scorer list, broke the 26-point mark six times in her four years at the Cougars.
“That basket must have looked like a trash can because it really filled it up,” said UT coach Vic Schaefer. “We need her to be like this every night.”
At the post-match press conference, Gonzalez was joined by Morris and sophomore point guard Rory Harmon. Fourteen of UT’s 18 points in the first quarter came from Morris’ four shots and two assists. Playing 40 minutes for the second time in UT’s last three games, Harmon dealt 11 passes.
“Today we won on defense,” said Schaefer, who also believed the scouting report compiled by deputy head coach Elena Lovato.
Oklahoma State’s 86 points last Saturday was the second-highest total in Schaefer’s three-year stay in Texas. On Tuesday, Texas forced 21 passes and held off Kansas with a 37.5 save percentage.
“We were really focused this time around,” Harmon said. “There is a difference between our team when we are focused and not focused and I think it’s very obvious.”
The Longhorns recorded their 13-point victory in front of an announced crowd of 4,903. Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian sat next to his wife Loreal.
This win was UT’s sixth in a row at the Moody Center. The Longhorns have never been behind the Jayhawks and have faced just one 27-second gap during their winning streak. On Sunday, Iowa State No. 15 will head to Austin.
Notes: Kansas (12-3, 2-2) led Holly Kersgiter by 20 points. Tyanna Jackson scored 19 points and 12 rebounds for a conference-leading 10th double-double. … Texas made 17 revolutions. … Junior forward Taylor Jones played just under 25 minutes for Texas. After missing nine games with a lower body injury, Jones made a brief appearance in the Oklahoma State game.