Rebounding, bench play spark Women's Basketball
Dec. 12, 2011
John Byczek, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- Practice and preparation were the keys to Women's Basketball's resilient victory last Saturday against Michigan State.
Rebounding and strong bench play provided the Longhorns the separation they needed from the Spartans, who led by as many as eight points through most of the first half.
UT out-rebounded Michigan State by 14 to earn the win and improve to 7-2 for the season.
"We've been working on rebounding all week in practice," said Anne Marie Hartung, who came off the bench to score four points and pull in three boards. "We knew Michigan State was a really good rebounding team, and our main focus was to box out every shot and get that rebound."
The Longhorns had a slow start, allowing Michigan State to go on an 11-3 run to open the game. After settling down, they got in their groove and answered with a 13-4 run and went into halftime leading 35-30.
Michigan State's 15 rebounds in the first half were overshadowed by 23 for the Longhorns.
UT maintained that advantage on the boards in the second half and concluded the game with 46 rebounds. Forward Ashley Gayle accounted for 12 rebounds while center Cokie Reed pulled in eight of her own.
UT scored 24 of its points in the paint, and 13 points were scored off second chance shots.
The Longhorns also paired that effort around the rim with steadily improving defensive pressure. The Spartans shot 50 percent from the 3-point line in the first half, but only made 1 of 15 attempts from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes of play.
The Longhorns' bench accumulated 10 points and nine rebounds, and maintained a high level of play throughout the game.
"After a hard week of practice we came and fought. We decided the bench was not going to be the reason points go down or the other team takes the lead," said reserve guard Chelsea Bass, who pulled in five rebounds. "We came in and fought just as hard."
Head coach Gail Goestenkors was pleased with her team's overall performance.
"The bench came in and played huge for us today," Goestenkors said. "We haven't had a lot of scoring off the bench, and (against Michigan State) we got it. We need that boost. This is the kind of bench play we need to have."