Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

Watching at home, if you had looked at the box score two innings into the ballgame, chances are you’d have decided to watch highlights of the Masters or “Hawaii Five-0” rather than continuing to watch the struggling Longhorns get their doors beaten in by the Baylor Bears.

Texas showed its resilience, however, as it strung together key clutch hits and defensive plays to not only erase the lead but take over the ball game in the bottom of the fifth. The Longhorns kept the momentum going throughout the rest of the game and finished with a 9-5 victory on Friday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Texas’ starting pitcher, junior Nolan Kingham, only managed to get through two innings as he struggled right out of the gate. A single and a home run jump started the early run for the Bears, who produced two runs in each of the first two innings.

“(Kingham) was really frustrated,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “After the second, he came in and said, ‘They’re not getting any more.’ And he couldn’t hit his spot and they were all over him. So we had to make a move. He’s a veteran, he’s going to have to bounce back. And we’re going to need him.”

Kingham was replaced with zero outs in the third after back-to-back Baylor batters got on base to begin the inning. Freshman reliever Matt Whelan, who was tasked with replacing Kingham, walked his first batter to load the bases. But after getting a force out at home to get the first out of the inning, something special happened.

Sophomore shortstop David Hamilton made yet another eye-popping play. This time it was a snow cone grab that he turned into a 6-4-3 double play, which could’ve easily been a single up the middle instead. This not only got the Longhorns, who trailed 4-0, out of a tough spot, but it changed the tide of the game in Texas’ favor.

“We were kind of down, then we turned that double play and things shifted,” Hamilton said. “We got the momentum and it was a good game — a good battle.”

Not only did the pitching momentum shift, the hitting came alive for the Longhorns as well. Over the next two innings, Texas scored six runs. Later in the eighth inning, it added three more. A surprise hero of the game and often unsung quality player, sophomore outfielder Duke Ellis, recorded a team and season-high four hits on the night.

Ellis, who has played right and center field and hit anywhere from the top of the lineup to the bottom, finally got to be the star of the show tonight.

“A big team win,” Ellis said. “When your starter does really well, but he didn’t tonight. He didn’t have his stuff, but it’s all good. You just got to rally behind him. And we did. And it was a big time win.”

It also seems Ellis has come up with a ‘new tradition.’ After the game he was seen in the outfield doing backflips and celebrating with his teammates. Ellis acknowledged that Pierce probably hasn’t seen the acrobatics yet, but he hopes it stays that way.

Ellis did say he’ll continue to do them after each conference win.

Texas will face Baylor in game two on Saturday at Disch-Falk Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Lashann Higgs had one less thing to worry about.

In No. 8 Texas’ past two games against No. 2 Baylor, Higgs was assigned to Baylor senior guard Kristy Wallace on defense. It didn’t go well for Higgs.

Wallace used her turbocharged first step to blitz past the Longhorns’ defensive stopper nearly every other possession. Wallace put up 27 and 23 points, respectively, en route to a pair of Baylor victories.

“The two previous games that we’ve played, particularly the first one against Baylor, I thought we were not as competitive as we needed to be,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said.

But on Monday night in Oklahoma City, Wallace didn’t step on the floor in Texas’ 77-69 loss to the Bears in the Big 12 championship game. Wallace suffered a torn ACL in her right knee on Baylor’s senior night against West Virginia on Feb. 26 and was ruled out for the season.

With Wallace out, Higgs had less responsibility for Texas on the defensive end. She turned her attention to the opposite end of the floor. 

Higgs had a penchant to score in threes. She kicked her evening off by draining a 3-pointer from the left corner. She followed it up by splitting a pair of Baylor defenders, drawing a foul from Baylor sophomore guard Juicy Landrum, scooping in a layup and converting the and-one free throw. 

By the end of the first quarter, Higgs had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

Her offensive punch bookended multiple runs for Texas. The Longhorns hit a rough patch,  making just 1-of-8 shots. Higgs zipped to the hoop late in the shot clock and rose for a layup, but she was met by Baylor junior center Kalani Brown.

The ball rimmed out, but Higgs secured the offensive rebound and went straight back up. She drew a foul and hit a pair of free throws to cut the Bears’ lead to three points.

Later in the fourth, Higgs swiped the ball from Landrum at half court and sprinted to the basket. Landrum recovered just in time to swat the ball away on the fast break. Higgs kept her cool. She recovered the offensive board and found senior guard Brooke McCarty on the right side of the lane for the easy finish. 

Higgs’ assist was part of a 9-0 run for Texas that tied the game up at 55 points apiece with 7:13 remaining. Everything unraveled from there.

The Bears eventually took back the lead. Higgs drove down the baseline again with 1:42 left on the clock and the Longhorns down two. She floated the ball a step outside the lane, wary of Baylor sophomore forward Lauren Cox, who had seven blocks.

The ball ricocheted off the rim and into Cox’s hands. Sophomore forward Joyner Holmes tried swiping it back but was called for a loose ball foul, sending Baylor into the bonus. The call unnerved Aston. She let the officials know it and picked up a technical foul.

Cox hit all four of the ensuing free throws.

“I had a poorly, poorly, poorly timed technical that I take full responsibility for,” Aston said. “Definitely my fault on that one.”

“We still felt like we had a chance (to win),” senior guard Ariel Atkins said.

They didn’t. Though Texas fought hard until the end, Baylor closed the game out and won its eighth Big 12 championship in nine years. Higgs finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists in a game that saw 14 lead changes.

Despite the loss, the Longhorns still believe they’re talented enough to beat any team in the country. The next loss will be the last in the NCAA Tournament.

“I mean, this loss is disappointing,” McCarty said. “But, we have a bigger picture to look forward to.”

The Longhorns (26–6, 15–3 Big 12) will find out their seeding and first opponent during the NCAA Selection Show on March 12 at 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Senior guard Brooke McCarty walked off the court on Monday night to the sight of a standing ovation and with her head held high.

The scoreboard of No. 6 Texas’ game against No. 3 Baylor showed a 93-87 victory for the Bears. And although they’d missed out on their biggest win of the season, the Longhorns felt they’d left it all on the court at the Frank Erwin Center.

Texas entered the battle of the Big 12’s top two teams determined to avenge its 81-56 loss to the Bears on Jan. 25, fighting tooth and nail with Baylor to force an 11-11 tie with 6:13 left in the first quarter.

The Bears awoke from their slumber, launching a 9-2 run fueled by six Texas turnovers. McCarty had an answer, though, as the senior guard sank a pair of consecutive open threes to cut the Baylor lead to 23-19 at the break.

“I thought our turnovers in the first quarter set us back a little bit,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “I thought we were playing very well defensively, but we just got in too much of a hurry.”

Desperate to shake the stingy Longhorns, Baylor hit even harder in the second quarter. The Bears began to crash the glass, out-rebounding an undersized Texas squad, 17-7.

McCarty kept Texas above water once again, lighting up the Bears for six points as the Longhorns cut the lead to 39-35 with 50 seconds before halftime.

But Baylor ended the quarter with a pair of unanswered buckets to claim a 43-35 lead at the half.

“I can’t look away from the rebounding number,” Aston said. “It was very clearly the difference in the game, and there were critical moments where we couldn’t get a defensive rebound.”

The Longhorns finally landed some punches of their own in the third quarter as Joyner Holmes began to expose the Baylor frontcourt. The sophomore forward gave an edge to a Texas team that’d been struggling to keep pace all night, scoring four points and totaling five boards in the quarter.

Atkins brought the crowd to its feet with 5:33 left, finishing on a fastbreak layup to give Texas a 51-50 lead — its first since 7:10 remained in the first quarter.

The one-point advantage lasted just 15 seconds as Baylor senior guard Kristy Wallace sank a floater on the baseline, igniting a 14-5 Baylor run. The Bears created separation once again, entering the fourth quarter with a 68-59 lead.

The Bears went for the knockout punch in the final quarter as Baylor sophomore forward Lauren Cox sunk a right-handed hook shot, plus the foul, to give her team a 77-62 lead with 6:44 left in the game.

Despite the game seemingly being out of reach, Texas kept fighting. McCarty continued to let it fly, drilling four three-pointers and posting 16 points in the quarter.

A late Longhorn comeback fell just short as the Bears escaped Austin with a six-point win.

McCarty finished the night with a career-high 32 points on 7-of-9 shooting from deep. The strong performance was a welcomed sight for a player who has shot just 32.5 percent from 3-point range all season.

Holmes also continued to show progress in the starting slot, finishing just shy of a double-double performance with 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Longhorns (22–5, 13–3 Big 12) hope to rebound from Monday’s loss as the Big 12 tournament, and a possible rematch against Baylor, looms in the distance.

“I think as a competitor you never want to lose,” McCarty said. “But at this point we can’t drown in our sorrows. We have to move on to the next game. We’ll see them again.”

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

With eight seconds left on the clock in double overtime and a one-point deficit for Texas, junior guard Kerwin Roach II drove right and threw up a long runner in a desperate, final look.

But like so many of Texas’ shots on Monday evening, the floater fell short and Baylor grabbed the rebound.

Baylor 74, Texas 73.

It was a pivotal loss for a sliding Texas team that dampened any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. After posting an impressive 11–2 home record through its first 13 games, Texas has now dropped back-to-back games at the Frank Erwin Center for the first time this season.

“They are really upset,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “And some of these guys are really angry, because some of those guys put their egos aside and came together in terms of attacking and battling. But obviously we came up one stop short.”

Texas missed 11 of its first 12 shots as Baylor took an early 13-6 lead.

The Longhorns rank at the bottom of the Big 12 in 3-point shooting, a fact that Baylor took full advantage of in the opening half. Even with freshman guard Jase Febres — the team’s top marksman from three — back in the starting lineup, Texas shot a miserable 2-of-11 in the first half from deep.

The Longhorns converted on just one field goal at the midway point of the half. And even then, the points came on contested mid-range jumpers. The offense was flat.

With under 10 minutes to play in the first half, Baylor scored on an easy layup off an inbound pass, forcing Texas head coach Shaka Smart to burn a timeout. That break proved to be the turning point of the opening period.

“Particularly in the first half, they didn’t let (poor shooting) get them down,” Smart said. “We had some good looks we didn’t make. We got the ball inside pretty well a few times where we didn’t put it away. That happened a couple times.”

Out of the timeout a three by junior guard Eric Davis Jr. gave Texas a badly needed spark. Roach got a dunk off a steal, then freshman forward Mo Bamba brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous dunk off the lob from the junior guard to cut the lead to one.

Moments later, the same duo connected on an identical, yet even more spectacular, alley-oop, and Texas took its first lead since the opening seconds.

The two teams traded baskets and entered halftime separated by a single possession, with the Bears clinging to a two-point advantage.

The Longhorns missed four uncontested shots from behind the arc to open the second half, including an airball from Davis as Baylor jumped out to an early five-point lead.

But it was Bamba who set the tone again for Texas. A huge rejection on Baylor forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. led to a layup on the other end for Bamba — Texas’ first points of the second half after nearly five minutes.

Baylor maintained a two-possession advantage until the 11-minute mark. Whether it was mismatches or a lack of effort from Texas, the Bears had little trouble abusing the Longhorns on both ends of the court. Texas looked deflated as Baylor pressed the attack, pulling ahead by eight with four minutes to play.

But the Texas players kept grinding. On the heels of a technical foul by Baylor, a late three from freshman guard Matt Coleman and a scoop layup under the rim brought the Longhorns within one with 30 seconds left in regulation. Moments later, Coleman went to the line, calmly hitting two free throws to tie the game for the Longhorns at 56.

Baylor missed a final look from deep as the two teams headed into overtime. Neither squad was able to command an advantage in the ensuing five minutes. After a pair of free throws from Roach tied the game at 64, the two teams headed into a second overtime period.

Again both teams failed to create any meaningful separation.

Texas and Baylor traded layups on both ends as time ran down. With under 15 seconds to play, Baylor took a one-point lead on a dunk inside.

“I knew that Mo was going to block the shot, and I was just hoping for a good miss,” Lual-Acuil Jr. said. “And thankfully I went up and I got it.”

The late runner by Roach proved just off the mark, and Texas (15–11, 5–8 Big 12) saw its postseason hopes suffer a massive blow in disappointing fashion.

“Slow starts make it tough,” Smart said. “That being said, our guys battled and forced overtime, forced double overtime. But even as we took the lead, they weren’t able to stop them.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

WACO, Texas — The No. 6 Longhorns entered Thursday night’s road game against No. 3 Baylor with hopes of a season-defining victory. Those hopes were shattered as Texas fell to the Bears in an 81-56 blowout. Here are five takeaways from the game.

Cox commands attention in first quarter

The Longhorns walked into the Ferrell Center with their sights locked on Baylor forward Kalani Brown. The 6-foot-7-inch center has tortured defenses all season, averaging 21.7 points and crashing the boards for 9.3 rebounds per game.

But with Texas determined to contain Brown, Baylor forward Lauren Cox broke free. The sophomore made the Longhorns pay in the first quarter, going 3-for-3 from the field and sinking all five shots at the free throw line for 11 total points.

The Bears won the opening quarter in every way, out-rebounding, out-shooting and out-hustling the Longhorns to take a 28-18 lead at the break.

“I expected (Baylor) to be really passionate and energetic in the way that they played,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “But I’m surprised by our team’s lack of composure and competitiveness in the first quarter.”

Baylor shuts down McCarty in the first half

Senior guard Brooke McCarty is the engine for the Longhorns, and that engine couldn’t start in the first half.

The League City native found herself at the mercy of Baylor guard Kristy Wallace, unable to create penetration and get open looks for her team.

McCarty totaled just four points on 1-of-8 shooting at the half as the Bears laid into the Longhorns, outscoring them 22-9 to break the game wide open.

Texas shot 26.5 percent in the first half as the Bears entered halftime with a commanding 44-27 lead. The 17-point deficit marked the most the Longhorns had trailed all season.

Brown explodes in the third quarter

With the Longhorns still doozy from the first half, Brown hit her stride in the third quarter.

The 11th-highest scorer in the nation owned the paint, exploiting Texas’ defense for nine points on 4-of-8 shooting.

Brown got the undisputed victory in her highly anticipated matchup with junior forward Jatarie White, crashing the glass for four rebounds to White’s one in the third quarter.

Texas had no answer as the Bears cruised into the final quarter with a 64-42 lead.

Baylor doesn’t ease up in the fourth quarter

The Bears kept their foot on the gas in the fourth quarter, tallying four offensive boards and forcing four Texas turnovers.

Wallace continued to win the battle against McCarty, finishing with 27 points on the night, including nine in the fourth quarter alone.

“(Wallace) controlled the game from the jump,” Aston said. “She made a lot of plays for (Baylor) and had a big game.”

The Bears kept their starters in until the final buzzer sounded, securing a dominant 81-56 victory at home.

Texas shows glaring flaws in loss

The 25-point trashing is Texas’ largest loss since 2016 when the Longhorns fell to Baylor, 74-48, on Feb. 29.

Frontcourt scoring proved fatal for the Longhorns as senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau and White combined for just 11 points. Three-point woes also plagued Texas as the Longhorns shot an abysmal 3-for-15 from behind the arc.

For a Texas team that fell just short to No. 1 UConn in a 75-71 heartbreaker on Jan. 15, Thursday’s blowout defeat is a step backward.

“It is frustrating when you don’t show up,” senior guard Ariel Atkins said. “They out-worked us, had more energy and played with passion. They were a team tonight, and we weren’t.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

WACO, Texas — Three looks inside and zero points to show for it.

Late in the second quarter of No. 6 Texas’ 81-56 loss to No. 3 Baylor on Thursday night, sophomore guard Alecia Sutton received an inbound pass near the left block, a half-step in front of her defender. Another dribble would have given her a chance at a layup.

Instead, Sutton just glanced inside and dribbled back near the top of the key to reset the offense. She noticed junior forward Olamide Aborowa wide open on the opposite side of the lane and lobbed a pass.

Aborowa mishandled the catch. She pump-faked once, then pitched it to Jada Underwood in the middle of the floor. The sophomore wing hesitated, then tried for an up-and-under post move right before the shot clock ran out.

A thicket of long-limbed Bears loomed in the paint. The Longhorns couldn’t explode their way through it. They tried dancing around it instead, but never found the right rhythm. The ball rimmed out, completing a sequence that encapsulated Texas’ night.

“I didn’t think they played scared. I just didn’t think they matched Baylor’s passion,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “There’s been a couple of times this year when we haven’t done that. And this was by far our worst performance as far as simple things like competition.”

Baylor sophomore forward Lauren Cox collected the rebound and found freshman guard Alexis Morris on the outlet pass. Morris zoomed to the opposite end of the court and hit a mid-range jumper in transition, putting Baylor up 44-25 with 41 seconds left in the quarter.

Senior guard Brooke McCarty dripped in a buzzer-beating floater to end the half, but Texas was ultimately exiled to the perimeter. The Bears finished the game with seven blocks — including six from Cox alone — and out-rebounded the Longhorns, 50-34.

“I would say that their size and their length definitely makes it a little bit more difficult,” junior guard Lashann Higgs said. “But we’re just not competitive. They out-competed us. They were just tougher than us and were playing with a purpose.”

The Longhorns struggled just as much from outside. Texas launched plenty of open triples and jump shots, but the ball rarely found the bottom of the net. McCarty and fellow senior guard Ariel Atkins combined to shoot just 8-for-30 from the field and 3-for-10 from three for 27 points.

Atkins’ composure suffered. Once the game slipped away, she began setting the ball on the floor after every call against Texas rather than handing it to the referee. She committed seven of the team’s 16 turnovers.

“It is frustrating when you don’t show up,” Atkins said. “They out-worked us, had more energy, they played with passion. They were a team tonight and we weren’t.”

Baylor (18–1, 8–0 Big 12) was one of the toughest opponents Texas (15–4, 6–2 Big 12) has played all season. 

Still, Aston knew her team could have performed better.

“I was a little surprised — a lot surprised by the lack of composure and competitiveness,” Aston said. “It was just a little bit of an old-fashioned butt-kicking.”

The Longhorns can’t afford to dwell on the loss. The Big 12 doesn’t allow teams much time to rest between games, and Texas is no exception.

“You’ve just got to go on to the next thing and just get back into the gym,” Higgs said. “Baylor wanted it more, so we can’t dwell on it.”

Texas hosts Iowa State at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“We have to turn the page really quickly,” Aston said. “(Friday) will be more of a mental day. It’s not one of those times where you can go in there and run them to death or try to fix a competitive thing. They know — they’re competitive players. They know that they didn’t show up tonight. We have to turn the page and get ready for Iowa State.”

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

After earning a victory on senior day against Oklahoma on Wednesday, the Longhorns took to the road for their season finale on Saturday afternoon, facing off against No. 18 Baylor in Waco.

Texas stole the show on the Bears’ senior day festivities, ending the regular season in style with a four-set victory.

Baylor opened the floodgates early, starting off the first set with an 11-2 advantage. However, the Longhorns stayed the course and came back to take the set 27-25.

Two of Texas’ seniors, Chiaka Ogbogu and Ebony Nwanebu, played a big part in mounting the comeback. The duo combined for 26 kills over the course of the match.

“I think the majority of the time we were trying to play catch up,” senior outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu said. “I’m really proud of how we came back and kept pushing.”

The second set saw Baylor go neck-and-neck with Texas through the majority of the set. With both teams deadlocked at 20, the Bears strung together a 5-1 run to close the set out.

The Longhorns once again played a close third set, playing to a tie game at 21. They followed that with a 4-2 run to close out the set, topped of by a pre-serve error that gave Texas the set.

The fourth set saw the scales tip heavily in favor of the Longhorns, as they opened the floodgates with a 8-0 run and never looked back to claim the match.

“We set the tone for how we wanted to finish it,” Nwanebu said. “I think we executed that very well.”

This game saw Texas notch four players with double-digit kills, emphasizing a strong team effort in defeating a top-25 team on the road. At the end of the afternoon, the Longhorns were outright Big-12 champs.

Apart from the numbers, it was the point-at-a-time mentality that powered Texas through to the finish line. With a stout senior leadership core, the younger players always have someone to turn to in the huddle after each point.

“I’m really proud of Chiaka (Ogbogu),” Nwanebu said. “She told us that we were going to win, and if she saw someone’s face drop, she made sure that it changed.”

With the regular season wrapped up, Texas will take a 18-game win streak into the postseason, being one of two teams in the country with a perfect conference record.

Texas’ postseason positioning is up to the NCAA selection committee, who will determine whether or not Texas and Gregory Gym will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Despite only two losses on the season, there is still a question mark surrounding the Longhorns’ seeding among coaches and players alike.

“Hopefully we get to host, but you never know,” Nwanebu said. “We’re always prepared for anything.”

The Longhorns won’t have to play the waiting game for long. The NCAA Tournament selection show is slated to set up the bracket at 8 p.m. on Sunday before tournament action kicks off on Nov. 30.

Texas traveled to Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Saturday in hopes of earning its second-straight conference win. No. 8 TCU proved to be a tough matchup for the Longhorns, though, as the Horned Frogs defeated Texas 24-7. The rest of the Big 12 was also in action with four other conference games on Saturday. Here’s how they shaped up:

Texas Tech unable to snap losing streak
Texas Tech has been on quite a skid since it began conference play. While the Red Raiders were undefeated in non-conference play, they have only produced one win against a Big 12 opponent thus far in the season. Texas Tech looked to get back on track over the weekend as Kansas State traveled to Lubbock, but the Wildcats stunned the Red Raiders behind backup QB Skylar Thompson’s game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Texas Tech came out slow against the Wildcats, but the Red Raiders showed their usual brand of high flying, up-tempo offense behind QB Nic Shimonek’s 405 passing yards by the end of the first quarter. However, Kansas State showed their own version of a prolific offense, keeping up with the Red Raiders the entire way. The game would ultimately enter overtime after a late Kansas State two-point conversion. In overtime, Thompson sealed the Wildcats win, throwing an eight-yard touchdown. With the 42-35 defeat, Texas Tech now sits on a four-game losing streak.

Oklahoma wins stunner in Bedlam rivalry
All eyes were on Saturday’s game in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as two of the top Big 12 contenders went head-to-head in one of the biggest rivalries the conference has to offer. This year’s Bedlam matchup would prove to be one of the most memorable, setting offense records while racking up 114 total points and more than 1,400 yards.

Coming into the matchup, both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, each led by Heisman candidates at the QB position, held one loss. The game would prove to be an epic back-and-forth with baffling offense stat lines in the passing and running games. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph each threw for five touchdowns, but in the end it would be Mayfield remaining at the top of the Heisman campaign. The senior ended his day with 598 yards passing on top of the five scores. After the 62-52 shootout victory, the Sooners now sit at No. 5 in the AP Poll.

Baylor earns first win
The Bears have seen their fair share of disappointment in 2017, starting the year with eight-consecutive losses to kick off head coach Matt Rhule’s tenure. Baylor has been able to keep a few of its conference games surprisingly close, but the team has never been able to hold on to a lead till the end.

That changed Sunday, as Baylor overwhelmed Big 12 bottom-feeder Kansas in a 38-9 victory. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer led the scoring barrage against the Jayhawks, throwing for 315 yards and three touchdowns. Bears wide receiver Denzel Mims would also show out in the victory, with 122 yards on just five receptions. While the win does not help the Bear’s conference championship hopes very much, it does provide a good boost of confidence to Rhule and the rest of his first-year coaching staff.

Photo Credit: Carlos Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

With a few minutes remaining in the second half and holding a 1-0 lead, the Longhorns were on the cusp of sealing a victory over Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.

But that never came to fruition as the Bears fought back for a 2-1 win in overtime, with Baylor midfielder Julie James delivering the golden goal.

Baylor came out aggressive in the first half against the No. 4-seeded Longhorns, pressing with a flurry of attacks led by junior forward Lauren Piercy and All-Big 12 first team forward Aline de Lima. 

De Lima and Baylor attacked the holes in the Texas defense with three shots on sophomore goalkeeper Nicole Curry in the last 10 minutes before halftime, but the Longhorns held strong despite only putting up one shot on goal.

“We need to return the physicality and just play a little quicker,” head coach Angela Kelly said in an interview on the TV broadcast prior to heading to the locker room. “We gotta stop giving the ball back as soon as we win it.”

On the offensive side of the ball, freshman forward Haley Berg and sophomore forward Cyera Hintzen had often been the creators and scorers for Texas this season, but both were held without any real quality opportunities against Baylor’s defense. 

Texas found a moment of brilliance from junior midfielder Katie Glenn, who scored in the 72nd minute. 

Fresh off of All-Big 12 first team honors, Glenn slipped through the Baylor defense and scored after receiving a through ball from Berg.

The momentum was short-lived for Texas, though, as Piercy’s strike off a cross tied the game up with under two minutes to play in regulation.

Texas had been 5–1 in overtime games this season entering Wednesday’s match. In overtime, the Bears led a gashing attack. De Lima delivered a through ball to James, who sealed the win in the 99th minute with a golden goal.

Texas’ excellent regular season performances have put themselves in a good position for the NCAA tournament, but an early exit in the Big 12 tournament will hang over the Longhorns’ heads. Now, Texas must sit at home and wait for an NCAA tournament selection.

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Dominant defensive performances aren’t anything new for Texas this season, but freshmen running backs Toneil Carter and Daniel Young are.

As the Longhorns headed down the tunnel following their victory in Waco Saturday afternoon, not many people in McLane Stadium looked twice when the scoreboard read Texas 38, Baylor 7.

It wasn’t the score that jumped out. It was who did the scoring and how they did it –– on the ground. Texas’ run game, which has been absent for the majority of the season, finally gained a glimpse of traction in the Longhorns’ victory over winless Baylor.

But it wasn’t the 250-pound junior running back Chris Warren III who put the Longhorn running game back on track. It wasn’t even sophomore Kyle Porter, who sat out for the second-straight game due to injury. It was two freshmen: Toneil Carter and Daniel Young, who have seen limited playing time thus far, and even spent time on the scout team.

“Those kids get better everyday. It’s incredible how hard they work and how hard they run,” junior linebacker Malik Jefferson said. “They were scout team at one point and now they're starters and trading in and out. I commend them for everything they're doing. They've been patient with it and let the process take care of itself and you see the success they had on the football field.”

Neither Carter nor Young broke the century mark in the blowout victory, but both proved efficient. Young averaged 8.6 yards per carry after bouncing out to the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown which gave Texas its 38-7 lead in the final moments of the fourth quarter.

And he wasn’t the only freshman running back who had a breakout performance. Toneil Carter averaged 4.7 yards per carry and emerged as the Longhorns’ leading rusher –– just the second time this season a non-quarterback has led the team in rushing.

“They broke tackles, which was encouraging to see,” Herman said. “They slivered around in there when things weren't blocked perfectly … I was proud of them. They protected the football which is always a concern when you're playing true freshmen at running back but I loved what I saw.”

The Longhorn offense wasn’t clicking early, especially in the first quarter where Texas’ only points came after junior defensive back DeShon Elliott returned an interception for a touchdown.

The offensive woes peaked in the second quarter after the defense recovered a Baylor fumble inside the red zone. The Longhorn offense not only failed to get in the endzone, but also saw the field goal attempt blocked to keep the score at 7-0.

However, once Buechele and the offense found its rhythm, it didn't look back. The Longhorns went to the quick-tempo offense early and often. And it not only led to points, but also confidence.

“When we can go fast, it helps a lot with our offense especially just keeping the defense off the field,” Buechele said. “They played a lot of snaps today, they played unbelievable. It was really good to see our running backs and offensive line work the way they did. “

The Longhorn offense now looks forward to its next challenge: a road test against No. 10 TCU. But even after the win Saturday, the 4-4 record is still in the back of some players’ mind.

“It sucks,” Jefferson said. “Because we should be a lot better honestly. But we’re not gonna play like we’re 4-4. We’re still gonna play like we're contending for something.”