SAN MARCOS, Texas – Charli Collier was dominant again for No. 6 seed Texas, and had an emphatic response on the court to some derisive chants from the stands.
Collier had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Longhorns in an 81-62 win over Bradley in the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament on Monday night. And when some chants of “overrated!” were directed in the fourth quarter at the 6-foot-5 junior projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s WNBA draft, she sank two free throws and immediately blocked a shot.
“As far as chants and stuff go, I really don’t care about it. I don’t pay attention to it,” Collier said. “I just want to work hard and do what I can for my team to get the win. And everything else is just extra.”
Coach Vic Schaefer was upset by what he heard during the Hemisfair Region game, and said there were similar chants during the Big 12 Tournament.
“Let me just say this, that chanting, that’s a crock of you know what. ... That’s about as classless as any adult could be,” Schaefer said. "These kids are young kids, man. They’re not asking for that. They’re good. That’s your answer to somebody being good. She ain’t just good, she’s great."
Collier swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key to end the first quarter, capping a 13-0 run that put the Longhorns (19-9) ahead to stay after the Braves took their only lead in their first-ever NCAA tourney game.
It was the 18th double-double this season for Collier, who has already declared herself available for next month's WNBA draft. Audrey Warren added 19 points, Joanne Allen-Taylor had 12 and Ashley Chevalier 10.
Lasha Petree scored a season-high 33 points and Gabi Haack had 16 points and eight rebounds for the mid-major Braves (17-12), who like Texas finished fifth in their conference during the regular season.
The private school in Peoria, Illinois, that plays in the Missouri Valley Conference has an enrollment of just under 5,900 students. Texas of the Big 12 is a state school with more than 50,000 students.
“I really wanted them to experience a win," Bradley coach Andrea Gorski, in her fifth season at her alma mater "I thought we had what it took.”
The Longhorns jumped ahead 6-0 even while missing 12 of their first 15 shots. Bradley then had its only go-ahead run, with Petree twisting and turning for a layup high off the glass, before Haack hit a 3-pointer and Tatum Koenig converted a Texas turnover into a breakaway layup.
“I have big motivation for all the players coming back next year,” said Petree, who wrapped up her junior season. "We know what it takes to get here and we’re going to do the same thing to come here again and hopefully next year, go farther.”
Texas played its first NCAA Tournament game for Schaefer, who returned to his hometown when he took the job last year after a successful run at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs from the SEC played in back-to-back NCAA championship games in 2017 and 2018.
RUN OF HER OWN
Petree had a 7-0 run all by herself in a span of less than a minute in the second quarter. After a layup, Warren missed a 3-pointer and Petree had another layup before a fast-break 3-pointer following a turnover by Warren. The Braves were still down 42-24 at the time.
NOT FAR FROM HOME
The Longhorns were playing only about 30 miles from their home arena in Austin, Texas, where three NCAA Tournament games were being played each of the first two rounds. They actually had to travel 50 miles to get to the game on the Texas State campus since every tourney team is staying in San Antonio, where the rest of the games will be played.
Texas plays its second-round game on Wednesday against third-seeded UCLA, which beat Wyoming 69-48 in their first-round game played on the Longhorns' home court.
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