Texas women win Big 12 tourney, one last time

The Texas Longhorn women's team defeated Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament Championship Tuesday. It marked the Longhorns' second tournament crown in three years. Texas departs for the SEC next season.

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March 13, 2024 - 2:06 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Texas decided to take one last women’s Big 12 Tournament title with it to the SEC next season.

Exacted a bit of revenge in the process.

After losing to Iowa State in last year’s finale, the sixth-ranked Longhorns rode a hot start and 26 points from Madison Booker to a 70-53 victory over the Cyclones on Tuesday night, giving them their second championship in the last three years.

“I’m proud of my kids because we beat a hell of a team tonight. A well-coached team,” said Texas coach Vic Schaefer, wearing a big smile and the cut-down net around his neck, and surrounded by several players who had been dealing with a stomach bug.

“To go win a championship in this league,” he said, “against the teams we went through — it’s pretty special.”

Aaliyah Moore added 14 points and Shaylee Gonzales scored 11 for the conference tournament’s No. 2 seed, which also gave the NCAA Tournament selection committee another reason to consider it for a No. 1 seed when that bracket is revealed.

Texas (30-4) has won 12 of its last 13 games with the lone loss coming to Big 12 regular-season champ Oklahoma.

“Phenomenal team,” Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly said. “They looked like a Final Four team today.”

Audi Crooks scored 25 points to lead fourth-seeded Iowa State (20-11), but she had very little help. Emily Ryan had seven points and eight assists but also nine turnovers, and second-leading scorer Addy Brown was held to two points on 1-for-5 shooting.

Iowa State committed 20 turnovers to just seven for the Longhorns, who turned all those miscues into 23 points.

“We did for the most part what we came to do this week. We played a really good two games, a really good half in this game,” Crooks said, “but we’ve got a lot of learning to do, and we still have the postseason. I’m excited to see what we put together.”

Booker had been frustrated by Kansas State during much of the Longhorns’ semifinal win, but she was perfectly at ease in the finale against the Cyclones, outscoring them by herself in the first quarter. She had 12 points as Texas built a 19-10 lead.

“Madison Booker was player of the year for a reason,” Ryan said afterward, “and she showed it tonight.”

It wasn’t just her, though. The rest of the Longhorns eventually got into the act.

Gonzales had a pair of 3s and eight points in the second quarter, Moore started to get to the foul line and DeYona Gaston scored on the fastbreak after one of Ryan’s five first-half turnovers. By the time Crooks finally ended her 0-for-5 shooting start for Iowa State with 4:27 left in the half, the Longhorns already had built a 20-point advantage.

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