Nash drives Women's Basketball past OSU
Jan. 22, 2011
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- The knot swelling above Kathleen Nash’s right eye is now bruised black, the result of a flying appendage in the early minutes against Oklahoma State on Saturday evening.
The Texas Longhorns entered the game at the Frank Erwin Center with similarly bruised egos, the result of an 0-4 start to Big 12 play -- three of those losses coming to teams ranked No. 15 or higher.
Nash, however, managed to play on against the Cowgirls. She lowered her head, attacked the basket and was characteristically tough when it counted. The Longhorns then embodied their senior leader, withstanding several OSU surges to come away with a 63-56 victory.
“I know it wasn’t pretty,” Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. “We’re just glad to get one under our belts, move forward and build off this.”
The Longhorns’ growth is identifiable. UT forced the Cowgirls into a season-high 26 turnovers, which led to 31 points, and the Longhorns’ bench provided 18 points and much-needed energy. But even in triumph, the Longhorns still see areas where they can improve.
For instance, OSU owned a 52-31 rebounding margin and scored 14 second-chance points. The Cowgirls also trimmed a 14-point UT lead down to just four with a little more than six minutes to play.
So perhaps the real triumph is the Longhorns’ defiance in the face of setback. And for this, Nash showed the way.
When the Cowgirls opened up a 6-1 lead against a stagnant UT offense, Nash managed to amplify her team’s intensity by poking away a steal and converting the lay-up, which cut the deficit to three. The Longhorns then ticked off a 14-1 run, fueled by six forced turnovers.
More than anything, Nash’s willingness to put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim inspired her teammates to do the same. Freshman Chassidy Fussell led all scorers with 21 points for her 17th double-digit effort of the season.
“It was just really physical, a battle the whole time,” Nash said. “We needed to focus on going to the basket, because some of our shots weren’t going in from the outside. Attacking is always our go-to.”
After a three-point play from Chelsea Bass put the Longhorns up by 10, OSU scored six-straight points to come within 50-46 with 6:07 to play. Nash answered with a 3-point basket and a jumper to put UT ahead 55-47 and continued her strong defense in the post.
The Longhorns forced four turnovers in the final four minutes , and Ashley Gayle's sixth block of the game sealed the victory with 30 seconds remaining.
“We were just very aggressive to the ball,” said Yvonne Anderson, who led the team with four steals. “Any time we could tip the ball, we were right there.”