Longhorns look to remain undefeated against McNeese State

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Head coach Karen Aston yells at her team at the Frank Erwin Center last season. The Longhorns finished the season with a 28-7 record but as eliminated in the Sweet 16 after an 84-75 loss to UCLA.

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Texas was engaged in a hard fought battle on Monday night against North Texas, eventually leaving Denton with a 64-54 win. It was only the second game of the season, but it provided its own set of issues, along with things to build upon. Now back in Austin, the Longhorns welcome in McNeese State, trying to expand on the early season lessons they’ve learned so far in the young season.

Thursday’s game will be Texas’ second game — and the first at home since the announcement that Chasity Patterson would be transferring from the program. Patterson’s role wasn’t enormous, however the loss of her perimeter shooting and ability to run the offense provides another puzzle for head coach Karen Aston to solve in the short term.

When it comes to Patterson, Aston kept her remarks very brief.

“We appreciate Chasity’s contributions to Texas Basketball and wish her the best in her future,” Aston said.

As for the players still on the team, Destiny Littleton has and will continue to run the offense for the second unit. She has provided the main spark from behind the arc in the early part of the season.

“She’s always had scoring ability,” Aston said. “There’s a reason why she was so highly touted.”

Littleton is looking for another teammate of hers to try and kickstart their stroke from deep.

Specifically, the Longhorns are looking for Danni Williams to find a rhythm. So far this season, Williams is shooting 1 for 12 from three-point range. She is a player who has brought in for her shooting and her ability to space the floor. Whether or not she can find the range will determine her role.

Because it’s still early in the season, Aston has expressed her openness to changing the lineups in order to get her team on the right track.

“Right now, we may start people based on practice,” Aston said. “I think there are so many competitive kids on our team that it might just be how they perform or matchups.”

Against McNeese State, Texas is going into the game with the frontcourt of Jatarie White and Jada Underwood. Both posted double-doubles in Monday’s win. They have been the only two players to break double digits this season. Thursday night will be another test for White and Underwood to see if they can expand on the strong start they’re having.

For Texas, defense has been a priority since training camp. Aston has repeatedly stated that the biggest room for improvement comes on the defensive side. This season, Texas has held their opponents to 29 percent. Granted they haven’t played a team of their caliber, but the defensive prowess they have shown in the early going can be applied to games against top teams they will face down the road.

The Longhorns will be clear favorites heading into Thursday night. It will be a matter of executing and coming into the game focused on trying to get their offense jumpstarted in this first leg of the season.

Texas will tip-off against McNeese on Thursday night at the Frank Erwin Center at 7 p.m.