AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns women’s basketball team outscored No. 15 Iowa State 16-6 in the fourth quarter to run away with a signature win 68-53 on Sunday at Moody Center.
The Cyclones went 3-for-12 from the field and didn’t get to the foul line in the final frame. The Longhorns shot 58% from the field in the quarter, its highest percentage of the game, with a 7-for-12 performance. For the game, Texas was 29-for-58 and scored 26 points off 20 Iowa State turnovers in front of 6,405 fans.
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“I thought our kids were really special today,” Longhorns head coach Vic Schaefer said. “That fourth quarter … you’re doing something when you hold that group to six points. That’s almost impossible to do. I thought we had great effort and our conditioning really showed.”
Texas jumped out to a 23-15 lead after the first quarter, hitting a game-high 11 shots in the quarter and using a timely 6-0 run to turn an 11-9 lead into a 17-9 advantage with 2:43 left in the quarter. Iowa State fought back and cut the Texas lead to 35-31 at the half, and following a nearly even third quarter between the squads, the Longhorns “locked in,” sophomore guard Rori Harmon said.
“We realized in the fourth quarter that we needed to start pulling the lead, and to do that, we needed to get stops,” she said.
Iowa State’s Ashley Joens, an all-American forward who has the skills to play multiple positions, led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, but Schaefer lauded the defensive play of freshman Amina Muhammad against her. In the fourth quarter, Joens scored just two points as the Longhorns built their lead. Muhammad played 21 minutes and grabbed seven rebounds with six points.
“She was really good today, and she’s got some toughness to her and is really competitive,” Schaefer said. “We need that player that can guard a player like Joens, and I thought she was really big for us.”
DeYona Gaston led the Longhorns with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting and a 5-for-5 performance from the foul line in 27 minutes. She helped the Longhorns get out of the gate quickly with seven points in the first quarter.
Shaylee Gonzales and Sonya Morris each pitched in 11 points on a combined 10-for-18 shooting night. Each made five shots including a 3-pointer in a game that the Longhorns attempted just eight 3-point shots, well below their 12.5 attempts per game average.
“We picked it up and worked really hard as a team together,” Gonzales said. “I felt like we were really prepared for the game and we knew we had to hit first, and I think we did that.”
Joens was the only Cyclones player to score in double figures. The Iowa State starting five outside of Joens shot a combined 8-for-27 led by Emily Ryan’s nine points. First-team all-Big 12 guard Lexi Donarski shot 2-for-12 for the Cyclones and scored seven points. Denae Fritz chipped in eight points for Iowa State.
After starting the season ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball rankings, the injury-laden Longhorns quickly tumbled out of the poll. Outside of losing Aaliyah Moore for the years with a torn ACL, the Longhorns are starting to get healthy again with Taylor Jones back in the lineup in the previous game against Kansas. Harmon, who scored six points with seven rebounds and seven assists, played all 40 minutes and has left a foot injury behind her. Had it not been for a letdown against Oklahoma State on the road, the Longhorns would be undefeated in conference play.
That’s not how it works, however.
“It’s good to see us trying to get healthy and everybody back,” Schaefer said. “It’s hard to win in the league, and you celebrate the wins at this level.”
Texas (13-5, 4-1 Big 12 Conference) is on the road Wednesday in Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. Iowa State (11-4, 3-2) hosts Oklahoma State on Wednesday.