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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

When Austin musician Elizabeth McQueen was growing up in Columbia, Maryland, she thought she would become a professor. She didn’t expect to make a living as a musician and certainly never thought she would one day perform a live duet with Willie Nelson.

“I never thought I would make a living as a performer because I didn’t know anyone who did,” McQueen said. “It didn’t even seem like that was something you could do.”

McQueen developed a love for performing when she was young but didn’t decide to pursue it as a career until after she graduated from college. She wanted to escape the East Coast’s fast-paced lifestyle, so she headed to Austin in 2000.

“I came down here thinking, ‘I want to be a musician,’” McQueen said. “That was my plan.”

McQueen spent eight years as the front woman for the Grammy-nominated band Asleep at the Wheel. During this time, she performed with Willie Nelson, released three solo albums and had two children.

Her latest project is recording an album as EMQ, a band she formed with old friends — guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo and multi-instrumentalist Lindsay Greene. On Thursday, EMQ and local artist Jerome Morrison will launch an exhibit at the Museum of Human Achievement called “Infinity + Infinity.”

Infinity + Infinity is an interactive art project in which audience members’ body movements control holographic images projected onto structures Morrison built. EMQ will play live music while spectators walk through the projections.

McQueen said the project is conceptually complex because it combines electronic music, jazz and 1920s songbook-style writing with holographic art.

“I don’t know exactly what [the music] is, and I don’t know how to describe it — but I like it,” McQueen said. “And I like playing it.”

McQueen said she has always been a fan of experimenting with her approach to music. On her previous albums, she explored a variety of genres including Americana and pub-rock. She asked Gurgiolo and Greene to form EMQ with her so that they could experiment musically. 

“I just keep expanding and changing,” McQueen said. “I guess I’m just not the kind of person who is going to make the same record over and over again.”

In addition to writing and recording her own music, McQueen is a DJ once a week for KUT. In her podcast, “This Song,” she asks artists about songs that have had an impact on them.

“It’s not your favorite song — it’s the song that made you realize you could become a musician, or play an instrument, or what influenced your latest project,” McQueen said. “It’s about who inspired us and whose shoulders we are standing on.”

McQueen said the most important song to her is “Empty Cans” by The Streets. She said the song taught her it is possible to be emotionally honest and open with her music.

“When you get really emotionally honest with your music, you are opening up the door for people to really feel something,” McQueen said. “I don’t think I’d ever thought to really attempt to try something that emotionally honest until I heard that song.”

She said her goals for her music career are always changing, but, for now, she wants to focus on emotional honesty.

“My ultimate goal as a musician is to make music that makes people feel something  more than just having a good time, but makes them really feel,” McQueen said. “But that’ll probably change next week.”

Freshman guard Ariel Atkins looks to help the Longhorns build upon last season when they went 22-12.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

It’s a new season for Texas women’s basketball.

After losing to Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, the Longhorns will open their season Sunday with the hope of grabbing a third Big 12 title.

After a strong finish last season and a long off-season, Texas is now the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 conference title for the first time since 2004. The Longhorns have an impressive No. 3 preseason national ranking from SLAM Magazine and are ranked No. 9 by ESPN.

“I’m really, really looking forward to seeing what this team is capable of doing,” head coach Karen Aston said.

After two home games, the Longhorns will have early tests this season when they travel to the west coast to play No. 6 Stanford and No. 23 UCLA. In addition to the games on the west coast, Texas will also battle No. 4 Tennessee and No. 5 Texas A&M before the conference season begins. 

Aston, in her third consecutive season as head coach, said she favors the tough start in non-conference play. 

“We are in better shape this year and that probably comes from the third year of training,” Aston said. “We have a base now, where we can really play a lot of different ways.”

However, Aston isn’t afraid to admit her freshmen players — including High School Player of the Year and freshman guard Ariel Atkins — don’t have all the plays under their belts yet, and, despite the confidence boost from high expectations, the team still has a long road ahead.

“One game at a time — that’s really the only thing we need to focus on,”
Aston said. 

Texas has 10 returning letter-winners this season, including 6-foot-7 junior center Imani McGee-Stafford, who fouled out in the final minute
against Maryland.

Stafford was given preseason All-Big 12 honors while Atkins was named the Preseason Freshman on the Year.

In addition to the Longhorns’ strong returning core, ESPN recently ranked Texas’ recruiting class No. 11, giving Aston more confidence in her team.

“We have experience to go along with some young ones that will bring us a different level of energy and, to say the least, talent,” Aston said.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Kevin Durant never saw himself being anything less than great in the NBA.

“I just don’t want to be a player in the NBA; I want to have an impact,” Durant said in an April 2007 press conference when he announced his decision to leave Texas after one season and declare for the NBA draft.

On Tuesday, his impact was felt more than ever.

Durant was named the NBA’s 2013-2014 Most Valuable Player award winner Tuesday, earning 119 of a possible 125 first-place votes. For the five-time All-Star, it is the first of his career, and the first ever by a former Texas Longhorn.

“Our entire basketball family is so proud of Kevin and this well-deserved honor,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said on Tuesday. “Knowing Kevin, he will consider this a team award.”

Long before Barnes ever brought Durant to Texas in 2006, the 6-foot-9 small forward was just a kid learning the game in the street courts of Maryland.

A child in a single parent home growing up, Durant spent his childhood bouncing around from apartment to apartment with his brother and mom. Basketball became his outlet, as well as his family’s backbone. It’s this part of his life that stood out in his acceptance speech on Tuesday.

“The odds were stacked against us,” Durant said through tears as he looked to his mom, Wanda, who was in the crowd and had Durant when she was only 21. “Everybody told us we weren’t supposed to be here … when something good happens to you, I tend to look back to what brought me here.”

Durant played for three different high schools as a teenager, including Oak Hill Academy. He transferred to Montrose Christian School for his senior season, where by the conclusion of his time there, was the MVP of the 2006 McDonald’s All American Game. He was widely regarded by many as the second-best high school prospect of 2006, behind Lawrence North’s Greg Oden, and had committed to Texas prior to starting his senior campaign.

In his one season with the Longhorns, Durant had one of the best individual seasons in school history.

He became the first freshman in NCAA history to earn consensus National Player of the Year honors, and remains one of only two freshmen (Anthony Davis in 2012) to ever accomplish such a feat.

That year, Durant led the Big 12 Conference in scoring (25.8 ppg), rebounding (11.1 rpg) and blocked shots (67). He was the only player to rank in the Top 10 nationally in both scoring (fourth) and rebounding (fourth).

But perhaps what he’s most remembered for as a Longhorn are the memories he left at the university seven years ago.

Games like the double overtime contest against Texas A&M, when Durant had 30 points and hit three free throws in the final moments of overtime to give the Longhorns the 98-96 victory.

Most Longhorns fans won’t choose to remember the Durant that led the team to a disappointing second-round loss in the NCAA tournament that year. They’ll choose to remember the Durant that created a magical environment at the Frank Erwin Center. The Durant that would hit impossible three-pointers from the corner and the Durant that would effortlessly slam down alley-oops.

Durant changed Texas basketball, and the program's decision to retire his No. 35 jersey is proof of that. It’s no surprise that he’s had just as much success at the pro level as he did in college.

This season in the NBA, Durant, a four-time All NBA First Team player, averaged an NBA-best 32 points and 7.4 rebounds per game during the regular season. He won his fourth scoring title in five years, something only Michael Jordan, George Gervin and Wilt Chamberlain have done before. He also became the first player since Allen Iverson in 2000 to win both the MVP and scoring title in the same year.   

Durant led the Thunder to a 59-23 record this season, the second best in the league, and has his team in the second round of the playoffs after a 33-point showing in game seven against the Memphis Grizzles to end the first round.

“Basketball is just a platform for me to inspire people.” Durant said at Tuesday's award ceremony. “I play first off because I love it. As a second-grader, I had a Grant Hill jersey. That’s the first time I walked into a gym. And that’s where I fell in love with the game.”

That love has propelled Durant to places he even acknowledges he wasn’t supposed to have reached as a poor child in Maryland: high school prominence, the Texas Longhorns, the NBA and now, the most valuable player in the best basketball league in the world.

Texas fought hard for its first Round of 32 win since 2004, but, after a heated back-and-forth match-up with Maryland, the fifth-seeded Longhorns came up 5 points short in a 69-64 loss on fourth-seeded Maryland’s home court.  

The game got off to a notably slow start. Strong defensive performances by both teams and poor shooting gave each team just two points at the 15:50 mark of the first half.

Senior guard Chassidy Fussell broke the early draught with a 3-pointer, which set off a shooting spree. Maryland’s Laurin Mincy answered Fussell with a 3-pointer of her own and went on to put up 8 of the Terps’ first 10 points. 

Although the Terripans were significantly more accurate from the field than the Longhorns — 41.2 percent to Texas’s 33.3 percent — Texas managed to keep the game close because of its accuracy from the free-throw line. While the Terps made only one free throw, Texas connected on 10 of its 12 attempts.

The score remained tight throughout the first half, and the teams entered halftime tied at 31. Texas kept it close, largely because of its defense on Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas, a three-time ACC player of the year, who was held scoreless in the first half. 

But the second half proved to be quite different for Thomas. 

Maryland’s all-time leading scorer made a quick shot from above the key early in the half, and it spurred her to a 16-point performance in the frame, which proved to be the game high. 

An easy layup by freshman guard Brianna Taylor slowed the Terps down a little and ignited the Longhorns, so much so that junior guard Krystle Henderson accidentally pushed Taylor to the ground in an attempt to give her a congratulatory shove. 

But Texas eventually lost control and allowed Maryland to create a 10-point lead with just over four minutes to go. The Longhorns rallied to within one after a sophomore center Imani McGee-Stafford layup with 1:38 remaining, but couldn’t complete the comeback. 

A missed 3-pointer by freshmen forward Nekia Jones in the final seconds allowed Maryland to avoid overtime and sent the Terps into the Sweet 16. 

Sophomore center Imani McGee-Stafford attemps to throw up a shot against TCU in February. The Longhorns are set to take on Maryland in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament in College Park, Md., on Tuesday. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Texas’ perfect 18-for-18 foul-shooting performance, en route to a 79-61 win over 12th-seeded Penn (22-7, 12-2 Ivy League), proved that free throws can make the difference between winning and losing.

“Anytime you go 100 percent from the free-throw line is great,” sophomore center Imani McGee-Stafford said at a press conference following Sunday’s game. “Every time they fouled us, we capitalized.”

Motivated by a drive to prolong its season, Texas rebounded from a first-half deficit to blow out the Quakers. McGee-Stafford led Texas with 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 12 rebounds. She scored 15 of her points after the half.

“I don’t want to say I freaked about the score, but it was in my mind,” McGee-Stafford said. “I just wanted to come out and give my team what they deserved from me.”

The entire Texas team adopted this mentality, as each player stepped up and showed accountability in the comeback. The effort helped Texas grab its first NCAA Tournament win since 2008 and advance to the Round of 32. Against No. 11 Maryland (25-6, 12-4 ACC), the Longhorns (22-11, 11-7 Big 12) are the underdogs, as they have been throughout the two teams’ history. Maryland leads the all-time series 3-1 and beat Texas in the teams’ only other NCAA Tournament matchup.

But that 79-71 Terp victory was in 1989. No current player on either team was even born yet, so Texas must take advantage of its newfound drive and a fresh start if it wants to advance to the regionals for the first time in a decade.

“Our team is really fortunate to have won the game [against Penn],” head coach Karen Aston said at a press conference following Sunday’s game. “It’s huge. Everything that we set forth to do this year, we have checked off. One of those was obviously to make it to the tournament, and we accomplished that. The next one was to win a game. That was a step I feel like this program needed to take.”

With all initial goals checked off, Texas has nothing to lose — and no reason to slow down. It must capitalize on its strengths, as it did from the free-throw line Sunday, but also realize it’s not playing a pushover. While the Longhorns boast a .365 3-point shooting average for the season, the Terps just barely trump them at .366. Texas’ 14.8 assists per game are its most this millennium, but Maryland posted a superior 19.6 average on the season. Even the Longhorns’ +11.7 rebounding margin, which puts them fifth in the nation, trails Maryland’s +12.2 margin.

Texas will have its hands full Tuesday night at 6 p.m. CST, as it plays in College Park, Md., which is home court for the Terps.

“I think we learned that we just have to stick together through everything,” senior guard Chassidy Fussell said at a press conference Monday. “We are going against the team and the fans that are yelling at us; we just have to communicate and stick together.”

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Many Texas players saw their first collegiate postseason action Sunday afternoon, and the fifth-seeded Longhorns were shaky at times before pulling away from No. 12 seed Penn, 79-61 in College Park, Md.

Head coach Karen Aston’s team struggled early, repeatedly trading leads with the Quakers early in the first half as neither team led by more than four points.

Texas fell behind soon after, as 12 first-half turnovers and poor shooting kept the Longhorns stuck at 17 points for more than nine minutes. Sophomore guard Celina Rodrigo finally broke the drought with a jumper, but the damage had already been done.

“They came ready to play and they’re a good basketball team,” Aston said in a statement after the game. “I think we just didn’t know how good they were.”

It was Aston’s first time in the tournament since taking over as head coach for the Longhorns, but she had been there before, when she helped lead Texas to the Final Four as an associate head coach in 2003.

Among Texas’ challenges was scraping off the rust. The Longhorns hadn’t played a game since March 9, when West Virginia defeated them in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship series. The Longhorns finally seemed to get warmed up at the end of the first, though on a 14-6 run to cut the deficit to seven.

Texas continued its spurt after halftime, featuring a complete role reversal after Penn’s dominance nearly took Texas’ chances. 

“We told them at halftime: either you wanna go home or you don’t,” Aston said.

Apparently, they didn’t. The Longhorns newfound energy and drive, sinking the first two baskets en route to a lead around the 14-minute mark. Within minutes, Penn found itself dug deep into a hole. 

The Quakers — playing in front of a supportive crowd only two hours away from home — knew they had lost  with just over a minute to go. As each player returned to the bench, she received a standing ovation from the crowd and hugs from coaches before settling into watching the season end. 

The Longhorns’ victory was their first NCAA tournament win since 2008, and they will face fourth-seeded Maryland on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Terrapins will be playing on their home court.

“We’re gonna have to play harder for 40 minutes,” Aston said.

Photo Credit: Jarrid Denman | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns have put on their dancing shoes as they head to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament for a date with No. 12 Penn, which will take place Sunday in College Park, Md. 

The Quakers recently captured the Ivy League championship but had just the 130th toughest schedule in the nation compared to fifth-seeded Texas’ 10th toughest schedule. The game will be aired on ESPN at 2 p.m.

After a breach of more than 300,000 personal records — including students’ social security numbers — at the University of Maryland, College Park, UT information security officials said while the University has a strong security program, any system can be hacked.

Cam Beasley, chief information security officer at Information Technology Services, said UT’s cyber-security system can keep students’ information secure. 

“We maintain a comprehensive information security program and a number of layers of security controls in place [such as] annual campus-wide IT risk assessment, security monitoring, security awareness training,” Beasley said. “There is also a great rigor assigned to any third party that the University might decide to pursue.”

The University has not been without security breaches in recent years. In 2006, confidential information of more than 197,000 past, current and prospective students were compromised through a computer in the McCombs School of Business. The records included names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Beasley said University security systems are just as susceptible to hacker attacks as other institutions.  

“If an attacker is extremely dedicated and focused on breaching a system, they will not stop until they have exhausted all logical, physical and social attack vectors,” Beasley said. “These targeted attacks can be extremely challenging for any organization to defend against.”

Shane Williams, senior information technology manager, said these cyber-attacks are often inevitable, even with the security universities provide.

“The current trend following these kinds of incidents is to bemoan that institutions aren’t doing enough to protect our personal information,” William said. “In some cases, this is a totally valid criticism. Other times, though, an institution has made every reasonable effort to protect their systems and their data, and a determined attacker still manages to gain access.”

Williams said it’s important to distinguish between the university systems that are trying their best to protect students’ records and those that are not doing enough.

“As an increasingly electronic society, it’s critical that we make distinctions between these two ends of the spectrum in information security in order to put pressure on those institutions that really aren’t bothering to protect us, while providing appropriate assistance to those that did everything right and still fell victim in spite of their efforts,” Williams said.

Computer science sophomore Nikita Zamwar said she believes most students are diligent about keeping their personal information secure.

“Even though a lot of students are really strict and careful about protecting their personal information, it kind of defeats the point when the university doesn’t do their job,” Zamwar said. “If there was a breach here I’d probably freak out, and I’d probably get really mad at UT.”

Bailey Webster has made the most of her four years at Texas, earning All-American honors. As a senior, Webster is hitting at a .295 clip on the offensive end and ranks second on the team with 270 kills this season.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Five years ago, it looked as if the 6-foot-3-inch outside hitter from Maryland, Bailey Webster, was ready to take over the Texas program. Webster was the nation’s top recruit, earned All-Big 12 freshman honors and was slatted to replace All-American Destinee Hooker in the lineup, becoming the star everyone expected when she signed. 

But in preseason workouts the next season, in her short-lived sophomore campaign, Webster went down with a knee injury. Surgery cost her an entire season, and a chance at helping her team. 

“Obviously we miss her, and we knew that she was going to be a huge part of the team,” then-captain Juliann Faucette said after the injury. “We hope that her recovery is fast and she’s set up for next year.”

That’s exactly what happened. Webster came back the next year in dynamic fashion, earning AVCA All-America first team honors. Then she repeated her production the next year, taking home first-team honors once again and sporting her signature leg brace in the process.

But her accolades and play are sometimes overshadowed by junior Preseason Player of the Year Haley Eckerman, who plays the same position.

Webster’s .326 career kill percentage trumps Eckerman’s .270 mark. And in every year the two have played together, Webster outhit Eckerman in terms of percentage. But Webster doesn’t think she’s being overlooked.

“I don’t ever think of it like she is overshadowing me,” Webster said. “Haley and I are really good friends and we are teammates first and foremost. All the honors she gets she deserves.”

Although Eckerman may have the better overall game — her defense and service skills trump Webster — Webster may be the more lethal offensive player, committing fewer errors and executing at a higher percentage.

“Honestly, I’m just working on hitting in practice and being smart,” Webster said. “Every set isn’t going to be perfect. Those moments when you can choose to swing your hardest or play it smart helps your hitting percentage”

Now in her fifth and final season, she looks back on everything that has happened.

“I’ve grown a lot. A lot,” Webster said. “Especially after my knee injury. This program has made me a better person.”

And with the tournament just around the corner and her time winding down, Webster has enjoyed every minute of her time donning burnt orange.

“It’s really exciting and especially being my fifth year,” Webster said. “Every season is exciting and different. We have a chance to be a better team by the time it comes. We have a lot to work on.”

And that work continues Thursday when West Virginia (18-11, 4-9 Big 12) comes to Gregory gym at 7 p.m. A win and an Iowa State loss would guarantee Texas at least a share of the Big 12 title.

No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 16 Northwestern

The Buckeyes have won nine of their last 10 meetings with Northwestern. Ohio State has historically been an elite team and this year is no different. Their offense is led by Heisman Trophy contender quarterback Braxton Miller. But the Wildcats are also making a name for themselves this season. It has been some time since Northwestern has had an exceptional team but it is undefeated so far this season. If Northwestern can handle the sheer size and speed of the Buckeyes while converting on offense against Ohio State’s tough defense, the Wildcats could take the upset.  


No. 15 Washington vs. No. 5 Stanford

Last year, this game came down to the wire, but in the end Washington pulled off the upset to win and is looking to do the same again this year. And they have the momentum to do so. The Huskies defense is coming off a dominating performance against Arizona, but Stanford’s defense was just as impressive against Washington State. Both teams want to keep their perfect records intact and Stanford wants to redeem itself. But will Stanford’s defense be able to keep up with Washington’s new up-tempo offense? This game will likely come down to the final minutes once again.


No. 25 Maryland vs. No. 8 Florida State

These two ACC teams will square off to determine which team will get their first loss of the season. The Seminoles not only hold an undefeated record this season but have also beaten Maryland six straight times, including a 41-14 win last year. But Maryland has had a strong year so far, averaging 39 points per game. Florida State has also had notable success on offense as freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has surpassed expectations. He may have been the only thing keeping the Seminoles in the game last week against Boston College. But he will be tested against the Maryland defense, which has only allowed 10.3 points per game, the third-fewest in the country.


TCU vs. No. 11 Oklahoma

This game gives the Sooners another chance to remain undefeated and prove again they are the favorites to win a Big 12 championship this year. TCU will definitely struggle in this game. The Horned Frogs are barely ranked in the top 100 for total offense. TCU will have to rely on its defense if it hopes to stand a chance. Texas fans should keep the closest eye on this game, as it could be an indication of what the Red River Rivalry game will look like next week.