Kansas women’s basketball started its two-game home stand against the Texas Longhorns, dropping 61-52. The nine point deficit was primarily due to the Texas front court that dominated all night long.
It seemed as if the Longhorn offense was running through junior center Charli Collier. The 6-foot-5 center managed to outscore the entire Kansas team, recording eight points in the first quarter, along with a block and two steals. The Jayhawks could only muster five points with the Texas defense playing with a heated full court press.
Collier didn’t stop there, as she was the focal point for a post-centric Longhorn offense. Texas recognized the size mismatch inside and also used that to its advantage.
Collier finished the game with 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, tallying a double-double effort in what was a fantastic game for the junior out of Mont Belvieu, Texas.
“Charli [Collier] is a heck of a player. I think she's one of the premier post players in the country on both ends. Tonight, she impacted the game on both ends," Kansas women's basketball coach Brandon Schneider said in the postgame conference.
The Jayhawks were without senior forward Tina Stephens, since she opted out of the rest of the season after missing two games in a row without explanation. Schneider told the media that Stephens officially opted out last Friday, Feb. 19.
While the reasons for her opt-out are unknown, it is known that the Jayhawks will have to finish the season without the spark plug of this young team.
The absence of Stephens has proved insurmountable in the past two games. In Kansas’ last game against Texas Tech, it was outscored 52-36 in points in the paint. The Jayhawks were out-rebounded by 41-32 in this game and couldn’t stop the Collier-Warren inside threat on the glass
Stephens has always been known for her defensive presence on the team and for the energy she constantly brings, even in the grimmest of games.
Kansas will next face off against No. 18 West Virginia at home on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.