Texas Advances Past Central ArkansasMarch 17, 2017
Brooke McCarty scored 15 points and the No. 3-seed Longhorns overwhelmed the No. 14 Sugar Bears in the first half before cruising to a 78-50 victory Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Joyner Holmes added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Longhorns (23-8).
Texas came in needing something good to happen after losing four of its final six in the regular season, a disappointing finish after the Longhorns challenged for the Big 12 title. A rousing rout at home could be just the thing that gets them ready for another deep run into the NCAA Tournament after making it to the reginal final in 2016.
"I was very pleased with our tempo in the first half and our intensity and attention to detail," Texas coach Karen Aston said.
The Longhorns leaned on their considerable athletic advantages from the opening tip. Texas stormed to 24-4 lead by end the end of the first quarter and led 48-20 by halftime.
Everything Texas did early worked. With McCarty's bursts of speed running the ball up court, and a dominant front line posting up for easy baskets, Texas shot 63 percent in the first half and swamped the Sugar Bears for the rebounds on the few times they did miss. McCarty, the Big 12 player of the year, was the catalyst, leading the Longhorns' transition attack and making three 3-pointers.
Maggie Proffitt scored 17 for Central Arkansas (26-5). The Sugar Bears cut the Texas lead under 20 by the end of the third but couldn't make a run to seriously threaten the Texas lead down the stretch.
Texas was so dominant in the post the Longhorns won the rebounding 55-23 and outscored the Sugar Bears 40-18 in the paint.
"We were sending five to the boards and they were still able to get the rebound," Proffitt said. "They are bigger, faster, stronger, and they were maybe a little more of all of those than we even expected."