Longhorns spotlight: Ashleigh Fontenette
Feb. 11, 2009
Sarah Thomas and Kristin Walla, Texas Media Relations
With her dominant play and young intensity, freshman guard Ashleigh Fontenette has made an immediate impact on the Longhorns. She has already been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice and become the first freshman since 2004 to score 20+ points in a game.
Adjusting to a collegiate level can be hard for some freshmen, but Fontenette seems to thrive under pressure.
"The expectations of college basketball are much higher than in high school," she said. "Not only is the expectation of the game at a different level, but the intensity is higher, too, and I really like those pressures on me."
Last year, at nearby Connally High School in Pflugerville, Fontenette was named the 2008 CenTexas Player of the Year with an impressive average of 17 points per game, five rebounds per game, and four steals per game. A three-time All-State honoree, Fontenette also earned MVP honors from her district as a junior.
Fontenette's choice to play close to home for Texas has paid off as she has played a vital role in the Longhorns' 5-3 Big 12 Conference record. The newcomer earned her first career start on the road against then-No. 3 Baylor, where she and the Longhorns upset the Lady Bears, 58-55. Fontenette's performance in Waco included nine points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Since beginning conference play, she has scored an average 9.6 points per game -- almost double that of her non-conference games. Fontenette leads the league freshmen in steals, with 2.0 per game.
Her career high 21-point game against Nebraska on Jan. 14 included a 12-point streak during the second half. That game made her the fourth Longhorn this season to eclipse the 20-point mark and the first freshman to put up as many points in a contest since 2004.
Before coming to Texas, Fontenette's performance on the court caught the attention of Longhorns Head Coach Gail Goestenkors, who immediately noticed Fontenette's intensity and passion during a summer-league game which matched the 5-foot-8 guard against 6-foot-8 center Brittany Griner.
"In that game, she took it to her. She was a warrior," Goestenkors recalled. "I said, 'I want her.' In this league, you need warriors."
"My uncle was a big Texas fan and he died of cancer about a year ago. When I found out Texas was interested in me, I thought this would be a great way to honor him," Fontenette said. "I never really thought I had a chance to come here, but when they offered me [the chance], my uncle was a big factor in why I came to Texas."