The 2011-2012 season was an “okay” at best season for the Texas Longhorns. They had a nice non-conference schedule where they only lost two games, but they were to #5 Stanford and #7 Tennessee. Their Big 12 Conference schedule was a completely different story.
They finished with a losing record of 8-10 in the conference last year and lost in the first round of the conference tournament. They did make it to the NCAA Women’s Tournament, but lost in their first game against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
This preseason, the Longhorns were voted 5th in the Big 12 Preseason Poll. They received 46 points in the polls and are only 4 points ahead of 6th place Iowa State. The teams ahead of the Longhorns are Kansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Baylor. The teams that received first place votes are Baylor (9) and West Virginia (1).
Texas also had one of their players recognized this preseason as well. Chassidy Fussell received both national and conference recognition. First, she was named to the 2012-13 preseason “Wade Watch” list. The Wade Trophy is often referred to as the “Heisman of Women’s Basketball.” She was also named Preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.
Last season, Fussell averaged 16.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, and shot .377 from behind the three-point stripe.
Despite having Fussell returning for the 2012-2013 season, Texas will have some huge gaps to fill this year. One of them is their leading rebounder and blocker from last season, Ashley Gayle. Gayle led the Longhorns in rebounds per game with 6.6 and blocks with 90 total. She played in 31 games and started 27 games last season while averaging 25.1 minutes per game. This is a big loss for the Longhorns mainly because of her blocking ability. It is always bad for a team when they lose a huge defensive player.
Texas will also be without their second and third leading scorers from last season. Ashleigh Fontenette and Yvonne Anderson will not be playing for Texas this season. They both averaged 11.9 points per game last season for the Longhorns right behind Fussell.
Texas will not have a very good season this year. Mainly because of the players that they have lost this past offseason. Yes, Chassidy Fussell is a very good player and has been recognized for that, but she will not be able to carry this team by herself. Plus, the loss of Gayle will be too much for the Longhorns on defense and will need to find someone else to produce her block numbers.
Also, the Big 12 Conference is adding two new teams this year in TCU and West Virginia. TCU might not be a tough opponent for Texas, but West Virginia will be for sure. There is a reason why the Mountaineers received a first place vote in the conference preseason poll. Texas will need to do better in the Big 12 if they want to do anything this season.
They will not be able to ride on the success of their non-conference schedule into the NCAA Women’s Tournament this season. There might be a chance that Texas misses the tournament this year.
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Check out my other writings on the Oregon Ducks blog, Autzen Zoo.