Jan. 26, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Women’s Basketball team used strong post presence and stout defensive and rebounding efforts to down Kansas State, 59-40, for a Big 12 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Erwin Center.
Junior forward Nneka Enemkpali recorded her ninth double-double of the season with a team-high 20 points and 16 rebounds. Texas used its height to control the boards throughout the game, outrebounding Kansas State 47-26 and outscoring the Wildcats 34-10 in the paint.
Freshman center Imani McGee-Stafford logged her seventh double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Texas had two players record double-doubles in a game for the third time this season, all by Enemkpali and McGee-Stafford.
Kansas State (12-8, 3-5 Big 12), who was sinking a Big 12-leading 9.4 shots from behind the arc per game coming into today, drained five first-half three-pointers to jump out to an early 22-13 lead. Senior guard Brittany Chambers led the first-half attack with eight points.
Enemkpali and McGee-Stafford provided the Longhorns’ answer, towering over Kansas State and racking up 18 of Texas’ 24 first-half points. The duo led UT on an 11-4 run to put the Longhorns down just two points heading into the locker room.
Texas (8-11, 1-7 Big 12) overpowered the Wildcats in the second half, using a 20-3 run over the first 11 minutes to take a commanding 44-29 lead. After opening the game with hot shooting, Kansas State missed 18 of its next 20 three-point attempts and was held scoreless for nearly seven minutes. KSU’s 14 second-half points were the fewest allowed by Texas in a Big 12 half this season, and the fewest second-half points allowed all season.
Kansas State got back on track late in the game, sinking three straight 3-point attempts, but Texas answered with jumpers from freshman guard Empress Davenport to keep the lead at 15 points. The second half surge was a balanced attack of low-post dominance and timely outside shots from Davenport, junior guard Chassidy Fussell, and freshman guard Brady Sanders. Fussell also reached double figures, finishing with 10 points.
Chambers and Brianna Craig led the Wildcats with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Texas heads to Fort Worth for its first-ever conference matchup with TCU on Saturday, Feb. 2. The game will be televised nationally at 11:30 a.m. by FSN.
-Texas holds a 13-11 advantage all-time against Kansas State and leads the series 8-3 when playing in Austin.
-The Longhorns held Kansas State to 24.1 percent (14-of-58) from the field, the lowest opponent field goal percentage allowed since they held Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to 14.5 percent on Nov. 30.
-Kansas State’s 40 points tied for the fewest points Texas has allowed in a game this season (vs. Cornell, Dec. 20) … they were also the fewest allowed in a Big 12 game thus far, with the previous low being 53 at West Virginia (Jan. 9).
-Texas dominated the KSU on both ends of the ball, outrebounding the Wildcats 47-26 and controlling a 34-10 scoring advantage in the paint.
-Today’s game was the third this season in which forward Nneka Enemkpali and center Imani McGee-Stafford both recorded double-doubles (last vs. TAMU-CC on Nov. 30, 2012) … the duo are the only to record double-doubles in the same game for the Longhorns this season.
-Kansas State’s 14 second-half points are the fifth-fewest points allowed by a Texas team in the second half in program history.
-Recorded first double-double since Jan. 5 (vs. Oklahoma) and ninth of the season with 20 points (9-of-16 FG, 2-of-2 FT) and 16 rebounds.
-Her 16 rebounds were most she has pulled down in a game since Nov. 30 vs. TAMU-CC.
-Posted her seventh double-double of the season with 18 points (8-of-11 FG, 2-of-2 FT) and 11 rebounds.
-Matched a season high in assists, dishing three.
-Reached double-figure scoring (10 points; 4-of-11 FG, 2-of-8 3FG) for the 12th time this season and 66th time in her career
-Distributed three assists to match her season high.
-Played a season-high 38 minutes, scoring five points and grabbing five rebounds and adding a pair of assists.
-Matched her season high in minutes with 33.
Texas Head Coach Karen Aston
Opening Statement: Obviously it was a really excited locker room and should have been. Today was a really great team effort. We played as a team, we shared the ball really well, team defense was terrific. There were obviously some really great individual performances, but overall it was a really great team effort.
On getting a win: It means a lot. I don’t want to discount that at all because they have been trying and it’s not like we weren’t close in some games. We want to see them rewarded when they prepare well, which they did. We had one of our better practices yesterday. You want them to be rewarded for that. I thought we played well at Iowa State, we just didn’t get the win, and so I am happy they were finally rewarded.
On Texas' defense: Late in the first half, we talked about picking up our pressure on the basketball. Initially we thought we had to play a little bit safe to guard penetration, but once they realized they could put pressure on the ball and extend their defense a little bit more, they carried that over in the second half really well. I don’t think we took any plays off in the second half. We made some mistakes, but didn’t take any plays off. We were really aware on defense. It took several possessions for us to figure out how they were going to shoot.
On the play by Texas' frontcourt: I thought they were terrific from the very get go. Establishing themselves in the paint. They worked harder longer. They have had games were they worked hard and have done some good things, but this time it was a complete game.
Junior G Chassidy Fussell
On the win: It feels really great. We just have to keep working hard to get the next one
On gaining inspiration from former letterwinners: We had an exes dinner last night and listening to them speak about the legacy and tradition of Texas was really motivating.
On Texas' performance in the paint: Imani is 6-7 and their tallest player is around 5-9. We just threw it in and we were able to throw it back out when they started doubling in. Our height was definitely an advantage, but we played a great inside out game today.
Sophomore F Nneka Enemkpali
On her performance in today's game: I just had a lot of built up excitement and was really eager to get back out there with my team. The inside play was really on for us and the guards were able to get the ball inside.
On the locker room atmosphere following the win: It was a very complete feeling. It is something we have been waiting for and working hard for, so to finally have the win meant a lot to us.
K-State Head Coach Deb Patterson
Opening Statement: I think the first half of this game we put ourselves in position to be competitive. There were certainly stretches early in those first 20 minutes that I thought we had every opportunity to pull away and we weren't able to capitalize. That was just a sign of things to come. The second 20 minutes were as poor basketball as I've seen us play in a long time. Obviously, on the road, against a very high quality Big 12 team--regardless of record--that will get you. There just was not anything that we could get going offensively in the second half. Defensively, we really played poorly in the paint. Texas post players stepped up big and got some great isolations and consequently, the game got very, very easy for them in the second half. It was a challenge for us. Typically, we're a team that defends well and that brings energy to the offensive end of the floor. But our overall execution on the day offensively and mentally was off and our numbers reflect that. We also got torched on the boards, which you can't allow to happen when you're not dropping shots. It was just a long second half for us in which we really just didn't compete in possessions well.
On Texas' forwards having scoring and rebound opportunities: It was just basically a few (opportunities) laying there for their two post players. We just created far too many isolation situations and a lot of high-lows. There were a lot of collective breakdowns defensively for us and a lot for us to learn from. Defensively, you knew they were going to go to the big kids. We just didn't answer. In addition to just giving point-blank shots, we didn't do a good job of preventing second chance shots, either. That will get you when you're struggling on the offensive end.
On whether Texas made adjustments to defend against the three in the second half: I think we stood around a lot and gave up on offense and gave up on one another in possessions offensively. I don’t think mentally the style that we look to play on the offensive end requires a great deal of cutting movement. We got really ball-dominant and really one-eye dominant. We've proven that we have the ability to run. I didn't see anything particularly different defensively from Texas from the first to second half. I think they played hard the entire game and they were accountable defensively. But I think we made the game easier for them in the second half than we did the first, again, because of being a little out of character.
On Texas' front court strength and the difficult matchups this presented: For us, just by virtue of size, it's a huge challenge. I think we have answers. I don't think defensively, we defended as well in the post as a team. I'll take responsibility for that because it was very porous in there. It was sort of like the Red Sea had parted and any shot those two wanted, by and large, they got. So, we were spread and we allowed too many one-on-one isolations with the size mismatch. You're not going to win a lot of those battles. Those two got their confidence and got a lot of touches. Once they felt like they could score and they were going to get those touches, they really capitalized.
On whether Texas defended against the perimeter differently in the second half: I think our offense went dead in the second half. I think Texas played hard defensively the entire game and you expect that. I don't think they did anything extraordinarily different than we had seen in the first half or all year. I just don't think we answered. We were very inept offensively in the second half--did a lot of standing and insisting on the thing we wanted to happen, to happen. I thought we were very flat-footed. We got ourselves out of character offensively. You can't hit threes when you're struggling offensively. You hit your threes when you have created a good rhythm offensively. We had none of that in the second 20 (minutes). Every trip up the floor was a battle. You could not quite figure out, from one individual to the next, who might make the appropriate play or pass. It just steamrolled. It was just a really bad second half for us offensively. Every once in a while, when you play the way we play, that can happen. It thought we looked mentally, very flat. Our rhythm was bad and our decisions were bad. Texas' defense was like you would expect in the Big 12. They're not going to give you easy, open looks.
Senior G Brittany Chambers
On why her team broke down defensively today: I think that we are a group of a lot of young individuals and sometimes, unfortunately, when you have such a high as we did the game before, you can come into a game like today and not realize how much it took to have a win like we did against Oklahoma state. I think the first half we did some things well. We took the second half with a soft mentality and against any Big 12 team, you will lose playing like that. We need to figure it out. We're not big enough, athletic enough, or, frankly, good enough not to play our best every night. We need to come into the gym and start working again.
On whether Texas' interior players showed her team something they hadn't seen before: I think that we are a very undersized team, but that doesn't mean you can play physical and aggressive. We knew that their posts were physical and aggressive. They're not just big bodies; they are very big around the glass. Credit to them, they played really well tonight, but we made them look better than they've been playing. They took advantage of it and any team in the Big 12 is going to take advantage of someone playing as soft as we did tonight.
Freshman G Bri Craig
On her team's mismatch on the interior: With the size disadvantage, we knew we had to have help-side against them. I guess a few of the times, we left our post on an island, basically, and the had a lot of isolation opportunities. With boxing our, they got too many easy second shots. We just didn't come out the second half like we needed to and it showed.