From Gospel to the Opponent’s Fight Song: How UT Women’s Basketball Gets Pumped Up

After reading about the UT Women’s Basketball team’s historic 1,100th win last month, I couldn’t help but dwell on the program’s achievement. What does it take to reach 1,100 wins?

As a former athlete myself, my first thought went to music, namely, what does the team listen to before games to prepare? How do they use music to psych themselves up, and what type of music do the players like to listen to? I walked over to the Denton A. Cooley Pavilion on Red River, where the women’s basketball team practices, on a windy Wednesday afternoon to find out.

Jada Underwood

Underwood is a Youth & Community Studies senior from Mesquite, Texas, and plays both guard and forward positions for the UT women’s basketball team. When it comes to the music she listens to before games, Underwood says it’s never anything too over the top—she doesn’t want to get “too high or too low.” Her favorite song is Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine,” noting that the team plays it when they really want to get crazy. She also enjoys listening to “This Is a Move” by Tasha Cobbs Leonard and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.  

Lashann Higgs

Higgs is in her fifth year at UT and graduated last year with a degree in Youth & Community Studies. Hailing from Round Rock, she plays guard and uses her pre-game playlist to keep her calm before heading out onto the court. self-described “slow-jam type of person, Higgs is a huge fan of Beyoncé but also makes time for old-school Luther Vandross R&B. Like Underwood, Higgs also enjoys gospel music, which, she says, with R&B, she listens to 80 percent of the time. 

Charli Collier

Collier is a Physical Culture & Sports sophomore from Mont Belvieu, Texas, and plays both the forward and center positions. Collier said she starts off her gameday music playlist with some gospel in the morning and, as it gets closer to game time, switches to rap to get herself ready. She mentionsChief Keef, Gunna, and Pop Smoke as a few of her favorites, saying that Gunna’s “Outstanding” is one of her go-tos right now. When it comes to her musical tastes, Collier says she’s not a “lyrical person” and doesn’t pay attention to the words—the beats and the bass are what matter to her.  

Karen Aston

Aston began her eighth season as head coach of the UT women’s basketball team in OctoberShe says that when she gets to the gym she pretty much likes it quiet, although she does listen to music on her way to and from. She gets on kicks, she says, sometimes listening to gospel, but never any one song on repeat. Aston plays music during practices—Jada says sometimes the opponent’s fight song—because “it’s actually really important that they get used to distractions, she says.  

Zack Zillner

Zillnerthe head strength and conditioning coach for the team, controls the music the team listens to in the weight room, but describes the music selection process as more of a give-and-take. According to Zillner, he and the team trade off picking the music. If I let you pick, then you better give me really good effort,” he saysAs far as specific songs go, Zillner says the team enjoys “It’s Goin Down” by Yung Joc, Which is funny, because I think that was popular when I was in school,” he says with a laugh. Zillner says the team also likes Lil Boosie’s “Set It Off.”  


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