Paced by the play of juniors Charli Collier and Audrey Warren, Texas strolled to an 84-57 women’s basketball victory over Louisiana Tech at the Erwin Center on Wednesday night.
Texas improved to 3-0 in Vic Schaefer’s first year with the Longhorns. UT has yet to hit the road this season, and it has beaten its three guests — SMU, North Texas and Louisiana Tech — by an average of 34.3 points.
“It’s always good to get a win on your home court. You don’t want to lose here,” Longhorns guard Joanne Allen-Taylor said. “There’s some things we did well, like we forced a lot of turnovers, but there’s a lot of things that we could have did better.”
In his postgame press conference, Schaefer wasn’t in a celebratory mood. Don’t get the coach wrong; he’ll take a 27-point win. But he was displeased by Texas’ effort. Of Louisiana Tech, Schaefer said: “Those kids played harder than we did tonight. That’s a hard pill to swallow for me. That’s my responsibility, and I wear it.”
Despite Schaefer’s complaints, Texas never trailed.
Led by eight forced turnovers and Celeste Taylor’s six points, Texas built a 22-11 lead in the first quarter. Taylor, however, left after a last-second tussle with Louisiana Tech’s Robyn Lee for a loose basketball. The sophomore guard did not play in the second quarter. But while Taylor sat, Collier once again stood tall.
The 6-foot-5 Collier scored 12 points in the second quarter, nearly matching Louisiana Tech’s 13 points scored as a team. Collier, playing three days after scoring 44 points against North Texas, also snagged five rebounds in the second quarter.
Louisiana Tech trailed by as many as 32 points in the second half. Collier fouled out with 6 minutes, 43 seconds left but still led the Longhorns with 22 points and eight rebounds. Taylor added 14 points. UT also got 10-point contributions from Allen-Taylor and DeYona Gaston.
With 19 points scored on 20 shots taken, Warren fell just two points shy of matching her career high. She did distribute six assists for the first time. Her three steals also tied a career high.
“You want to have that feeling (that this is your night) every game,” Warren said. “The zone allowed me to find a spot to score.”
On Monday, Texas made its first appearance of the season in The Associated Press’ Top 25 poll. So far, Texas has done what a ranked program should do against inferior competition; SMU ranked 11th in the American Athletic Conference’s preseason poll, while North Texas and Louisiana Tech were picked to finish eighth and ninth in Conference USA.
The competition will quickly get stiffer. Texas A&M (3-0) will visit the Erwin Center on Sunday evening.
“I’m very excited to play A&M,” Warren said. “I haven’t got to play in the rivalry yet, so this will be fun.”
Tip-ins: Duke graduate transfer Kyra Lambert played 13 minutes in her Texas debut. The 5-9 point guard hit a 3-pointer. … Taylor led Texas with five steals. … Wednesday’s contest was the eighth 20-point game of Collier’s career. … Louisiana Tech shot 40% from the floor and was led by Brianna Harris’ 25 points. The Lady Techsters (2-1) also committed 30 turnovers and were held to one fast-break point.