The 2016-17 Texas Women’s Basketball season began with high hopes. The Longhorns would face a brutal schedule and each of the team’s five starters would be playing in new roles, but the Texas players adopted the motto “HAW” – hard at work – and the team had goals of winning the Big 12 Conference and advancing to the NCAA Final Four in Dallas.
Four of Texas’ first six opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top-11. It was a rigorous schedule for the Longhorns, who concluded that tough stretch by participating in the Jimmy V. Classic in Uncasville, Conn., against No. 2 UConn. The game had special significance for head coach Karen Aston, whose mother Norma Haley is battling pancreatic cancer.
Texas started the season with a 2-4 overall record, but the Longhorns earned a 72-67 win against rival Tennessee to spark a 19-game winning streak. The NCAA Championship trophy visited the Frank Erwin Center in the game against the Lady Vols.
Texas hosted its annual Exes Weekend in conjunction with the team’s game against West Virginia on Jan. 29. The Longhorns welcomed back nearly 40 former players for a luncheon, alumni game and halftime recognition.
The Longhorns put together one of their most complete efforts of the season to upset No. 2 Baylor in Waco on Feb. 6. It marked Texas first win against the Lady Bears since March 7, 2010 and snapped Baylor’s 54-game home winning streak. Junior guard Brooke McCarty scored a season-high 22 points and freshman Joyner Holmes recorded her sixth double-double of the season.
Texas swept the annual Big 12 Conference Awards. Brooke McCarty became the first person in school history to be named Big 12 Player of the Year. Karen Aston was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, Brianna Taylor was Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Joyner Holmes was Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
“It’s a blessing. I feel like there are many people in the Big 12 who could have gotten this award. It’s just a testament to my teammates and my coaching staff. They really pushed me this year.” --Junior point guard Brooke McCarty
Texas hosted its fans to watch the NCAA Selection Show. The Longhorns drew a No. 3 national seed and would host NCAA First and Second Rounds at the Frank Erwin Center for the second consecutive year.
Texas fell to No. 6 Stanford in the NCAA Regional Semifinals. The Longhorns concluded the 2016-17 season with a 25-9 record and a No. 14 national ranking in both major polls. Texas has made four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, three NCAA Sweet 16 showings and has won 24 or more games in each of the last three seasons.