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No. 11 Texas trips up No. 2 Baylor, aces major test

Baylor had an undefeated record against all other Texas teams, an undefeated record in the Big 12 and only suffered one loss this season to the number one seed UConn… until tonight. The 11-seed Texas Longhorns gave 2-seed Baylor their first loss since November 17, 2016 to remain undefeated in conference play this season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Texas at Baylor Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Waco, TX — The two powerhouses in the state of Texas faced off in one of the biggest games of the week in NCAA play, with the Texas Longhorns pulling off a hard-fought, gritty upset win over the Baylor Lady Bears, 85-79.

The Longhorns made a statement early, starting off with the first few buckets which led Head Coach Kim Mulkey to sub the entire Baylor starting five before four minutes had surpassed from tip-off. This statement-making type of play would continue for Texas throughout the game, giving them the opportunity to beat the number two team in the nation.

"They came out on fire. Complement those guys, they came out ready to play. They had a lot of energy, they had a lot of fight in them. They just punched us right in the mouth,” Mulkey said.

A great matchup was not only between the two powerhouses, but also when it came to individual matchups. Baylor’s Nina Davis went against Texas’ Joyner Holmes and the matchup was intense throughout all four quarters.

The freshman for Texas hit the first two of four shots to start the game, ending with an overall score of 18 points combined with a massive game-changing rebounding effort throughout the 40 minutes. Holmes earned herself the only double-double of the evening with a clean 10 rebounds.

Lady Bears’ Davis made key defensive hustle plays down the stretch, but offensively she struggled, going 3-for-10 from the field finishing with a mere eight points and three boards.

Besides Holmes standing out, Texas’ own Brooke McCarty, stood out as she led the Longhorns with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists. The Texas-native is in her third season with the Longhorns, earning a starting spot early in her career. Night in and night out she had led her team and once again tonight she proved her scoring abilities and tough defense can compete with a top team in the nation.

“I think we were just feeding off of each other. We all had some open shots and I think everybody came out did pretty good, we started the game off really good,” McCarty said. “So I think it was just feeding off everybody’s energy, we were all scoring so I think that’s what kept the energy going.”

Another Texas native, Longhorn junior guard Ariel Atkins finished with 20 points, going 8-for-12 from the field, and making three of five key free throws.

For Baylor, Kalani Brown’s 24-point performance was a huge factor in their fourth-quarter push, keeping the Lady Bears’ hopes alive with huge second-chance plays and key free throws, making 6-of-9.

"I just played with a sense of urgency. Whatever it was to help my team, whether it be rebounding, or scoring, whatever she needed me to do I’d do it. We needed an offensive presence,” Brown said.

Baylor rotated many of their players, but no one was able to bring the same effort that the ladies in burnt orange were able to put on the floor. Texas was consistent with hustle plays with huge second chance effort by all players. Going into the fourth, Texas led Baylor with points in the paint going into the fourth, 36-26 and shooting 53% from the field.

“It was a tough game and I’m really proud of our players, I thought they were tough tonight. They work really hard,” Head Coach Karen Aston said. “I think you just saw tonight how good the Big 12 was.”

The Longhorns remain undefeated thus far in conference play, with Head Coach Karen Aston extending her five-year record at Texas to 108-50 losses.