Memo to Texas fans, your presence is requested at the Erwin Center immediately.
With her players struggling and one of the best teams in the country coming to town, coach Jody Conradt expects the fans to turn out in large numbers when No. 15 Texas takes on fourth-ranked Baylor at the Erwin Center on Saturday.
Texas (9-6, 2-2 Big 12) had dropped four of its last six games, including a 73-57 defeat at No. 13 Connecticut on Monday. Conradt wasn’t so much concerned with the final score as she was with the breakdowns the Longhorns had on both ends of the court.
Texas was outscored 42-20 in the paint, shot 34 percent from the floor and allowed UConn to shoot 55 percent.
“Right now, part of our struggling is mental,” Conradt said. “We are trying so hard in practice and in the games to try and figure it all out. By doing that, it is keeping us from playing loose and confident.”
Conradt, a Hall of Famer and member of the exclusive 800-win club, thinks her players can regain their swagger if they receive the full support of the raucous fans at the Erwin Center, where Texas has lost only once in eight games this season.
“Yes, we know we are capable of playing better and are working on doing that,” Conradt said. “However, when a team is down, that’s the time that we really need people. We need great support to help give us energy and a boost right now.
“I hope that our fans will turn out in big numbers Saturday. We played in front of a sellout crowd at Baylor two weeks ago, and the crowd really was able to get behind Baylor and energize them. We are looking for our fans to do the same thing this Saturday.”
Baylor (13-2, 3-1) won the Jan. 8 meeting with Texas in Waco 63-60 for its 12th victory in a row. However, the Lady Bears lost at Nebraska four days later, 103-99 in three overtimes.
Despite the 12 straight wins, coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson didn’t like what she saw in that defeat, so she made some changes for Sunday’s 78-68 victory over Oklahoma.
Looking for a better defensive lineup, Mulkey-Robertson did not start senior guard Chameka Scott for the first time this season. Scott responded by scoring 11 points in 29 minutes, including three 3-pointers during a late run that sealed the win.
Baylor hasn’t had to call on Scott all that much because it boasts arguably the two best players in the Big 12 in senior forwards Sophia Young and Steffanie Blackmon. The duo has accounted for 44.3 percent of Baylor’s points and 42.8 percent of its rebounds.
Young leads the Big 12 with 9.7 rebounds and is fourth in scoring with 17.4 points per game, while Blackmon is fifth in the conference with 16.9 points and fourth with 8.5 rebounds per contest.
Texas will try to counter with sophomore center Tiffany Jackson, averaging 15.9 points and 7.5 rebounds, as well as senior guard Jamie Carey and forward Heather Schreiber, scoring 11.9 and 10.3 points per game, respectively.
Texas holds a 51-15 series lead over Baylor, including wins in four of the last six meetings.