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Big 12 Tournament QF: 40-8 run keys Texas win in defensive struggle

The No. 15 Texas Longhorns are moving on to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals after looking not-so-great on offense early on against the Kansas State Wildcats.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Texas vs Kansas State
Rori Harmon, Shaylee Gonzales and Shay Holle combined to shoot 5-of-35 from the field on Friday.
Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 15 Texas Longhorns scored just six points in the first quarter, their star point guard Rori Harmon missed her first 12 shots from the field and the team finished with a field goal shooting percentage of 31.7 — even worse than the opposing Kansas State Wildcats’ 32.7 — yet still won a Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal contest, 60-42, Friday afternoon at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.

Texas (24-8, 14-4 Big 12) was able to cruise to victory in the end courtesy of a 40-8 run from 5:00 in the second to 7:41 in the fourth that brought the score from 16-7 Wildcats to 47-24 Longhorns.

Shaylee Gonzales opened the stretch with a much-needed three. Amina Muhammad then converted on a 3-point play off an offensive rebound-turned-layup. After that Harmon made a free throw and DeYona Gaston added two more to tie the game at 16 with 3:06 to go in the first half. Texas was down 18-16 at the break.

A Taylor Jones 3-point play at the 6:32 mark of the third gave the Longhorns their first lead since 5-4 at 23-21. Texas later got transition layups at 5:17 and 3:49 in the third to make it 27-21 and 30-21, respectively. Harmon capped the frame with a mid-range make, her first field goal of the contest, which made it 39-22.

Shay Holle made the only other Texas three during the run to make it 45-24 two minutes and four seconds into the fourth.

Jones finished with eight point and 11 rebounds, while Gaston had 13 points and five boards. Harmon was held to 2-of-15 shooting from the field and just five points, but she did notch four rebounds, seven assists and four steals.

Jaelyn Glenn posted 15 points in defeat, while Serena Sundell added nine points, nine boards and five helpers for the Wildcats (17-16, 5-13 Big 12).

Winning the battle of the boards 48-35 helped Texas overcome its poor shooting. The Longhorns also forced 22 turnovers, eight more than they committed.

Texas was a No. 4 seed in ESPN’s latest bracketology; Kansas State was part of the “next four out.”

The Longhorns will face the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in the semifinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. The Cowgirls won a thriller over West Virginia earlier on Friday.