No. 3 Texas women beat Northwestern State 74-34
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Nneka Enemkpali passed a scoring milestone Sun. Her work in another area distinguishes the Texas senior from other players.
Enemkpali scored 10 points to help third-ranked Texas beat Northwestern State 74-34 and improve to 8-0. She became the 37th Longhorn to surpass 1,000 career points.
She also grabbed 10 rebounds, her specialty.
Her coach, Karen Aston, noted that Enemkpali joined ''an elite club'' by reaching 1,000 points. Then Aston added, ''A whole lot of the points are probably from rebounds.''
Although Enemkpali is short for a power forward at 6-foot-1, she ranks second in the Big 12 with 8.6 rebounds a game.
Enemkpali said she learned to value rebounding at an early age.
''When I first started playing basketball, I didn't know how to do anything else besides pursue the basketball,'' Enemkpali said. Aston said Enemkpali sets an example for a team that has eight freshmen and sophomores.
''We all can see that Nneka is just a phenomenal rebounder,'' Aston said. ''She has not only a nose for the ball but a desire to go get the ball. I think it becomes contagious for those other players to see how hard she works on the boards.''
One of the sophomores, center Kelsey Lang, led Texas with 12 points in 24 minutes Sunday. A freshman, guard Tasia Foman, scored 12 in 13 minutes.
Beatrice Attura led Northwestern State (4-4) with 12 points.
Texas played without Ariel Atkins, the talented freshman guard who injured her right ankle last week when she stepped on a teammate's foot in practice. The 5-foot-11 Atkins started five of the Longhorns' first seven games, averaging 10.6 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Junior Brady Sanders started in place of Atkins for the third time this season and had eight points. Sanders had two 3-pointer and three assists in the first 7 minutes.
Northwestern State was ineffective from the beginning, missing its first six shots, committing two turnovers, and falling behind 16-0 before finally scoring nearly 5 minutes into the game.
''They have a lot of talent, but (Aston) gets them to play hard,'' said Brooke Stoehr, co-head coach for Northwestern State. ''They're playing with a lot of passion, a lot of intensity. Every loose ball, every offensive rebound opportunity, they go pursue the basketball.''
Aston has help on the court instilling that attitude. Nobody wants to loaf in Enemkpali's presence.
''She'll definitely call you out,'' said sophomore Nekia Jones. ''That's one of the things I like about her.''
Texas: The Longhorns have had a outrebounding edge in every game this season, beating Northwestern State on the boards 38-26. Tennessee, the only team that came close, finished one rebound short of Texas. No other opponent has been closer than minus-7.
Northwestern State: The Lady Demons began the day ranked 241st nationally in field-goal shooting accuracy at 37.9 percent (there are 343 Division I teams). They did nothing to elevate themselves, shooting 32.5 percent against Texas.
EXPECTATIONS FOR JONES
Nekia Jones, a sophomore forward for Texas, played a season-high 17 minutes Sunday, five more than her average. Coach Karen Aston hopes Jones will have a larger role when Big 12 competition starts in January. Jones has endured a few setbacks - a concussion during the summer and an unspecified health issue that caused her to miss three straight games in November.
''I think she's getting back on track,'' Aston said. ''I feel good about where she is right now. She's getting in better shape. I anticipate by conference play she will be at a place where her minutes can be increase.''
Texas: Hosts McNeese State on Wednesday night.
Northwestern State: Hosts Arkansas-Monticello on Wednesday night.