Freshman McGee-Stafford finds her rhythm in the post position
Nov. 25, 2012
Elissa Schneiderman, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- The storylines of Texas’ 94-58 win over Central Connecticut State are aplenty - with the victory, UT is a perfect 4-0 to begin the season for the first time since 2010, sophomore forward Nneka Enemkpali recorded her fourth consecutive double-double, the Longhorns dominated the Blue Devils in the paint (42-12) and out-rebounded Central Connecticut 47-37. Breakout freshman center Imani McGee-Stafford's commanding post performance off the bench might have seemed a bit buried on the final box score, but she was a key factor in the Longhorns’ commanding display of basketball.
McGee-Stafford recorded a season-high nine blocks, which is the most for a Longhorn since Ashley Gayle recorded 10 against Cincinnati on Dec. 28, 2010. She also racked up 13 points and seven rebounds, narrowly missing a second consecutive double-double. McGee-Stafford earned the first double-double of her collegiate career last Tuesday (Nov. 20) against Jackson State with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
With such an impressive statistical performance across points, rebounds and blocks, McGee-Stafford is a legitimate triple-double threat. But for McGee-Stafford, her box score results are a consequence of executing what the Texas coaching staff asks of her.
"If you tell me what I need to do, I'll do it," McGee-Stafford said. "Now that I know what I have to do, and what I need to do for us to be successful, it's great. I just go out there and I do that. Whatever comes from that is what shows up in the stats."
Over the first four games of her college career, McGee-Stafford has begun to establish her function on this team.
"My role is running hard, making sure I'm a post presence, rebounding and helping the guards on defense," McGee-Stafford explained. "Coach Aston told me in practice, because I was struggling with post defense, that when I’m in doubt, just go get the ball."
McGee-Stafford knows she has come a long way since Texas' Oct. 30 exhibition outing against Incarnate Word. While she recorded 12 points, six rebounds and one block in the contest, she said she was not yet familiar with the college game or her role on the team.
"I was (nervous) then. I couldn’t even make a layup to save my life," McGee-Stafford said. "But now, I am more calm and comfortable on the court, under the lights and with the fans. It's just a great atmosphere. Being comfortable in that atmosphere is what I'm getting better at."
Up next for McGee-Stafford and the rest of Longhorn basketball is Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 30 at the Frank Erwin Center.