The Texas Longhorns cooled off the hottest player in the country with stifling defense and a couple of red-hot performances by guards Aliyah Matharu and Audrey Warren, as the Longhorns beat the Wildcats, 66-48, on Wednesday at the Erwin Center.
Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee scored just 20 points four days after breaking the NCAA Division I single-game scoring record.
The No. 9 Longhorns (15-3, 5-2 in Big 12) have now won their last four games and have their fourth win over a Top 25 team after beating the No. 25 Wildcats (15-5, 5-3). In addition, the Longhorns remain tied with three other Big 12 teams with two league losses — Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma. All three teams won their games on Wednesday.
Lee entered Wednesday’s game coming off her record-breaking 61-point game against Oklahoma on Sunday. For that, she was named the Big 12 Player of the Week. She was much quieter against Texas, as the Longhorns used their frontline to attempt to limit her effectiveness. Lee played nearly every minute of the game and shot 9-of-20 from the floor while also grabbing 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, both Matharu and Warren had great games. Matharu was hot early and finished with 18 points, including four 3-pointers. But Warren was near-perfect — 8-for-9 from the floor — as she finished with 16 points. Joanne Allen-Taylor added 12 points.
Texas used a combination of pressure defense and quality offense to build a 30-17 halftime lead, led by Matharu, who scored 11 points in the first 20 minutes.
Texas naturally paid a lot of attention to Lee and held her to six points at the break. But, the Longhorns also put pressure on her teammates, who are responsible for getting Lee the ball. Lee had just one of the Wildcats’ 12 first-half turnovers, and Texas turned those into 11 points. Plus, even with Lee inside, Texas was plus-eight on the glass and held K-State to 36.4 percent shooting. The Wildcats also failed to make a 3-pointer until the second half, and made just one for the game.
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From there, Texas maintained the lead and never let it drop into single digits, thanks to shooting nearly 50 percent from the field.
Kansas State’s Serena Sundell had 13 points, four assists and four steals. As anticipated as Lee’s visit was to the Erwin Center, the game was also a battle of two of the Big 12’s top freshmen, Sundell and Texas’ Rori Harmon.
Harmon finished with seven points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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