Enemkpali continues to shine during her breakout sophomore season
Nov. 21, 2012
Dalton Pool, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas improved to 3-0 on the season with its defeat of Jackson State Tuesday night at the Frank Erwin Center. Five Longhorns were in double figures and Texas out-rebounded Jackson State, 55 to 36, but the story of the night--and of the season so far--was Nneka Enemkpali. Enemkpali recorded her third straight double-double to start the season with 24 points and 20 rebounds. Her contributions didn't stop there, though. Enemkpali also had five blocks and four steals. Through the first three games this season Enemkpali is averaging 25 points and 14 rebounds per game.
"I thought it was okay. You all think I'm kidding. I'm not. I thought it was okay," head coach Karen Aston said in the post-game press conference regarding Enemkpali's performance. "If she had played harder the first half she would have had 25 rebounds. That's how talented Nneka is. She has so much potential and it's becoming real. It's not just potential anymore."
Enemkpali was quick to agree with her coach, saying her effort in the first half was not what it should have been.
Enemkpali is just the eighth Longhorn in the history of Texas Women's Basketball to record three straight double-doubles. The last Longhorn before Enemkpali to record three straight double-doubles was Tiffany Jackson in 2006 when she recorded four consecutively.
Current special assistant Stacy Stephens accomplished the same feat on four separate occasions and is the all-time leader at Texas with 52 double-doubles. Stephens has had the opportunity to watch Enemkpali grow throughout the past year.
"To record just one double-double takes an extraordinary amount of effort, but more than that it takes a certain drive," explained Stephens. "To go rebound the ball is not the most popular thing to do, but the perseverance Nneka has shown this year speaks volumes to the work she has put in. It has been really impressive that she has done this so quick. She is playing at rim level. She'll go up for a shot and hit the backboard. She literally can grab the ball off the rim. Just how naturally strong and athletic she is has been the most impressive thing so far this season."
Stephens also credits Enemkpali for the work she put in this past offseason with strength coach Shaun McPherson. Enemkpali transformed her body in the offseason, adding muscle and taking off body fat, and now her physical and athletic advantage is even greater than last year. Factor in her improved skills, Enemkpali is primed to be a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12 Conference.
Texas returns to the court on Saturday, Nov. 24, against Central Connecticut State at the Frank Erwin Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m. Central and the game will be televised by Longhorn Network.