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Higgs, ’Horns eliminated in Sweet Sixteen

For the third time in four years, the Texas Longhorns came crashing out of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament in the Sweet Sixteen.

Bahamian Lashann Higgs had her worst game of the tournament against the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins on Friday, scoring just four points on 2-for-9 shooting in 33 minutes of action. She added five assists and two steals but was 0-for-3 from distance, and had just one rebound. The second seeded Longhorns (28-7) fell behind to the third seeded Bruins (27-7) early, and struggled in trying to contain senior guard Jordin Canada in the second half.

Canada had 20 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, and UCLA ended up shooting 56.3 percent from the field in the second half.

The Longhorns fell 84-75, losing in the semi-finals of the Kansas City Regional at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

“They looked like a really hungry team and one that had not been there in quite some time, by the way they played,” said Texas Head Coach Karen Aston afterwards. “Credit absolutely goes to them. UCLA was really good tonight, and sometimes you want to blame your kids or try to figure out what went wrong, but I think a lot of what went wrong was UCLA was really exceptional.”

Higgs was stellar in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, leading the Longhorns in scoring, averaging 17 points per game.

She had 19 points in their first round win over the Maine Black Bears, and then struck for 15 in their second round game against the Arizona State Sun Devils. She had little production on Friday night though.

Junior guard Higgs actually gave the Longhorns their first lead of the game at 40-39 on a lay-up just two minutes into the second half. Moments later, senior guard Brooke McCarty gave the Longhorns a three-point lead on a lay-up, but then Canada and the Bruins took over. They ended the quarter on a 17-4 scoring run to re-take control of the game. Senior guard Canada scored six straight points for the Bruins to give them a 52-45 lead midway through the third.

The Bruins ended the third quarter ahead 59-49. Higgs and the Longhorns got to within four points, 76-72, with two minutes left in the game, but the Bruins scored eight of the game’s final 11 points to put it away.

Canada had a game-high 22 points on 8-for-18 shooting from the field for the Bruins. She added eight assists, five rebounds and five steals. Senior forward Monique Billings added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Bruins, and junior guard Kennedy Burke dropped in 15 and five rebounds.

Senior guard Ariel Atkins paced the Longhorns with 20 points and seven rebounds. Junior post player Jatarie White had 17 and eight rebounds, and McCarty dropped in a dozen points, five assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Alecia Sutton came off the bench to score 10 points for the Longhorns.

The Longhorns committed 21 turnovers in the game, and ended up being outscored 31-13 in points off turnovers and 17-6 on the break.

The Longhorns advanced to the Elite Eight two years ago, but haven’t advanced to the NCAA’s Final Four since the 2002-03 season. Meanwhile, the Bruins finally made it to the Elite Eight after falling a game short the past two seasons.

Sheldon Longley

Sports Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting

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