The Longhorn Women’s Basketball Team Is Really, Really Good


Those holding out for a flood of maroon tears at the hands of Texas in December were rewarded for their patience and flexibility on Sunday as Longhorn junior guard Empress Davenport drove through the lane for the game-winning layup with four seconds remaining. Davenport’s clutch basket capped an 11-point second-half comeback, breaking a tie with the Aggies, and making the score 67-65, which would stand through the final buzzer. Though it wasn’t a bowl game, anytime the Longhorns can snatch a win from the jaws of the Aggies is a serendipitous moment for Texas fans.

It’s difficult to imagine not ranking a comeback win over the Aggies as the signature win for a Texas team, but the Texas women’s basketball team is that good, and will have to live with this auspicious dilemma. The third top-5 victory for the undefeated Longhorns—Texas beat Stanford and Tennessee in a 10-day span in November—brings their record to 10-0 as they face Rice in their final non-conference game of the season. This halcyon period for Texas women’s basketball was momentarily interrupted, when, heading into the locker room down 32-31 at halftime, the team experienced its first halftime deficit all season.

No matter. Davenport and the Longhorns rolled out a full-court press in the second half, smothering the Aggies in an effort to crawl back to the lead. This new tribulation—being down 11 with only minutes left in the game—was quickly overcome, with Davenport’s free throw with 4:14 left putting Texas up 62-61.

“I think we had to push the tempo since we were down by a lot,” Davenport said after the game. “We’ve never been down by that much during the season, I don’t think.”

The mark of a good team is the ability to blow teams out of the water. The mark of a great team is one that can adapt to overcome adversity and win close games—Geno Auriemma’s UConn Huskies near the end of the aughts and Pat Summit’s Tennessee Lady Volunteers for, say, her entire coaching career come to mind. The Longhorns haven’t won the NCAA tournament since Jody Conradt’s 34-0 1986 team upended the competition, and haven’t made the Final Four in more than a decade, but this is the best shot third-year coach Karen Aston has had to win it all. And hey, even if she and the Longhorns fall short, at least they breathed a little bit of life into the dying A&M rivalry.

Image courtesy UT Athletics