McCarty, Holmes lead No. 6 Texas past Texas Tech 87-72
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Less than a month ago, Texas defeated Texas Tech by 51 points, the Longhorns’ largest margin of victory ever in a Big 12 game.
Texas coach Karen Aston said before the rematch that she expected something significantly different this time. She was right.
Brooke McCarty and Joyner Holmes scored 13 points apiece to help No. 6 Texas beat Tech 87-72 on Wednesday night.
“I just saw in film the last week or two when you watched their games, that they were more connected and competitive,” Aston said. “I thought we’d have a little more difficult time guarding them than we did the first time and that sort of played out. Credit to Texas Tech.”
Five Longhorns reached double figures as they beat Tech for the 10th straight time. Sug Sutton scored 12, Jatarie White 11 and Ariel Atkins 10 also reached double figures for Texas (21-4, 12-2 Big 12).
Tech (7-18, 1-13) has lost seven in a row under interim coach Shimmy Gray-Miller, who took over when Candi Whitaker was fired on Jan. 1 after the Lady Raiders lost to Oklahoma State and Baylor by more than 40 points each. But Gray-Miller, like Aston, detects improvement.
“I thought we played really tough the whole game,” Gray-Miller said.
Dayo Alabode led Tech with season-best 19 points. She made five 3-pointers. Jada Terry added 17 for Tech. Tech converted 49.2 percent of its field goal attempts after hitting 27.2 in the first game against Texas.
“It’s very frustrating as a player, giving up easy points,” White said.
The Lady Raiders outrebounded Texas 35-33, marking only the third time this season the Longhorns lost that battle.
The Longhorns did not make a move to pull away from Tech until late in the third quarter. Texas made a 12-0 push fueled by six points from McCarty in a span of 15 seconds. First McCarty made a 3-pointer, then she stole the ball from Grayson Bright and turned that into a three-point play. The Longhorns soon led by 19, but Tech later cut the deficit to 12.
“I thought they played really, really hard,” Aston said. “And very confident.”
Texas Tech: The Lady Raiders have a lot of size with the 6-foot-4 Terry, 6-5 Erin Degrate and 6-5 Brittany Brewer. Degrate and Brewer scored 10 points a apiece.
“For all of our weaknesses, our strength is our inside game,” Gray-Miller said. “Even against the No. 6 ranked team in the country, we felt like we had an advantage inside.”
The 6-4 White and 6-3 Holmes had difficulty guarding Tech’s post players inside.
Texas: The Longhorns have 10 high school All-Americans, but they could have used the defense and toughness that a player who did not receive that honor often provides around the basket. Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau, a 6-4 senior who leads Texas in blocked shots, missed the game with a bone contusion to her left wrist that she suffered Saturday against Kansas State. Aston said Caron-Goudreau’s status is day to day.
Texas faces some big accomplished players in its next two games against Oklahoma State and Baylor, starting with OSU’s 6-4 Kaylee Jensen, who averages more than 18 points a game.
FRESHMAN MAKES PROGRESS
Given her team’s depth, Aston has often left her three highly touted freshmen on the bench because she is dissatisfied with their effort on defense. One of them, point guard Chasity Patterson, played 13 minutes against Tech, her longest stretch since the game at Tech on Jan. 20. She converted 3 of 4 shots on Wednesday.
“She’s learning,” Aston said. “She had a little bit of a turnaround maybe 10 days ago, two weeks ago. I thought she started to practice with more purpose and it carried over today in the game.”
Texas Tech is at Iowa State on Saturday. Tech lost to the Cyclones 66-54 on Jan. 13 in Lubbock.
Texas is at No. 21 Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Longhorns defeated Oklahoma State 84-79 on Jan. 3 in Austin after trailing by six with less than four minutes remaining.