Women's Basketball prepared for what lies ahead
March 16, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- The NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament is about playing gritty, digging deep and turning blows into blessings.
We know the Texas Longhorns have experience in all three.
The University of Texas hosts the first and seconds rounds of this year's tournament at the Frank Erwin Center, beginning Sunday evening when UT takes on Mountain West champion San Diego State, and after a rousing journey that has left them 22-10, and with their best Big 12 record in three years under Gail Goestenkors, the Longhorns find themselves back on their own doorstep, grimy but happily no worse for the wear.
"Everything we've been through -- playing UConn, playing Tennessee -- was designed to help us be prepared for these moments," Goestenkors says.
Twice, UT has showed resilience, a postseason necessity, by willing out double-overtime road victories against Texas Tech and Kansas. On two other occasions, the Longhorns showed resolve, absorbing their own self-inflictions and Goestenkors' ensuing lectures.
They learned from the lessons.
After Tennessee dished out a 78-58 beating in early December, UT didn't play again for 10 days, and practice became boot camp. Training also resulted in triumph -- the Longhorns responded with six-straight wins, each by an average of 30 points.
Then, after Iowa State broke down a 14-point lead and won in overtime, the Longhorns used their open week to again return to the basics. The coaches coached, the players played and UT's run of six-straight Big 12 victories followed.
And now the Longhorns find themselves with a handful of practices before tournament play begins. And they also find themselves stinging from a Big 12 tournament loss to the rival Texas Aggies.
"Every day we're putting in extra work in the gym, whatever it takes to get the same result," senior Brittainey Raven says.
Another six-game winning streak, and the Longhorns would be national champions. Don't laugh, because they've done it before.
"I want to put it all out on the floor," Raven says. "We just want to go out there and play together."