AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns women’s basketball team outlasted No. 15 Iowa State 16-6 in the fourth quarter and ran away with a signature 68-53 victory Sunday at the Moody Center.
“Cyclones” left the field 3 out of 12 and did not reach the foul line in the final frame. The Longhorns shot 58% from the field in the quarter, the highest in the game, with a scoring 7-of-12. In the game, Texas was 29-of-58 and scored 26 of Iowa State’s 20 losses in front of 6,405 fans.
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“I thought our kids were special today,” said Longhorns head coach Vic Schaefer. “This fourth quarter… you do something when you hold this group to six points. This is almost impossible to do. I thought we put in a lot of effort and our physicality really showed up.”
Texas took a 23-15 lead after the first quarter, hitting a game-high 11 shots in the quarter and using a well-timed 6-0 to turn a 11-9 lead into a 17-9 lead with 2:43 left. in the quarter. Iowa State fought back and cut Texas’ lead to 35-31 in the half, and after a nearly flat third quarter between squads, the Longhorns “locked in,” sophomore quarterback Rory Harmon said.
“In the fourth quarter, we realized that we needed to start pulling forward, and for that we needed to make stops,” she said.
Ashley Jones of Iowa, an all-American forward with multi-position skills, led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, but Schaefer praised freshman Amina Muhammad’s defense against her. In the fourth quarter, Jones scored just two points as the Longhorns extended their lead. Muhammad played 21 minutes and grabbed seven rebounds for six points.
“Today she was really good, she has a certain toughness and she is really competitive,” Schaefer said. “We need this player who can protect a player like Jons and I thought she was really the right fit for us.”
DeJona Gaston led the Longhorns with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting and 5-of-5 shooting from the foul line in 27 minutes. She helped the Longhorns get out of the net quickly with seven points in the first quarter.
Shailey Gonzalez and Sonya Morris each scored 11 points on 10 of 18 shots. Each made five shots, including a three-pointer, in a game in which the Longhorns only made eight three-pointers, well below their average of 12.5 attempts per game.
“We figured it out and worked really hard together as a team,” Gonzalez said. “I felt like we were really ready to play and we knew we had to hit first and I think we did.”
Joens was the only Cyclones player to hit double figures. Iowa State started five except for Joens, scoring 8 of 27 in total, led by Emily Ryan, who scored nine points. Big 12 first team quarterback Lexi Donarsky threw 2 of 12 for the Cyclones and scored seven points. Denae Fritz scored eight points for Iowa State.
After starting the season ranked 3rd on the Associated Press’ top 25 women’s basketball teams, the Longhorns quickly fell out of the poll with injuries. Aside from the years-long loss of Alia Moore to a torn ACL, the Longhorns are starting to bounce back when Taylor Jones returned to the lineup in the previous game against Kansas. Harmon, who scored six points on seven rebounds and seven assists, played the full 40 minutes and left behind a foot injury. Had it not been for the loss to Oklahoma State on the road, the Longhorns would not have lost in the conference.
However, it is not.
“It’s good to see that we’re trying to recover and everyone is back,” Schaefer said. “It’s hard to win in the league and you’re celebrating at that level.”
Texas (13-5, 4-1 Big 12 Conference) travels to Lubbock on Wednesday to take on Texas Tech. Iowa State (11-4, 3-2) hosts Oklahoma State on Wednesday.