Celina Rodrigo’s roles were defined during her freshman season. The Texas point guard passes the basketball and plays defense.
There is no truth to the rumor that the player wearing jersey No. 2 for the Longhorns on Wednesday was an imposter. That was the new-and-improved Rodrigo scoring a career-high 12 points, all in the first half of a 96-42 victory over Texas State at the Erwin Center.
Showing confidence that was sometimes missing from her game last season, the 5-6 sophomore point guard was a shooting star, going 5-for-5 from the field in the first half, which included a pair of baskets behind the three-point arc.
Rodrigo would finish with 15 points, 4 assists and 2 steals in the lopsided game.
“With the experience I gained last year, it makes me more confident,” Rodrigo said.
Junior forward Nneka Enemkpali led a balanced scoring attack with 22 points. Post Imani McGee-Stafford scored 15 and guard Chassidy Fussell 15 as the Longhorns shot 48.6 percent from the field.
Texas’ 96 points were the most scored by the Longhorns since a 112-59 victory over Texas-Pan American in 2010.
Rodrigo averaged 2.2 points a game as a freshman, hitting on just 25 percent of her shots. She made a total of 4 three-pointers in 30 games. On Wednesday, she hit three behind the arc.
“Celina showed a lot of resilience out there,” coach Karen Aston said. “She was disappointed by the way she played in the last game (against UTSA). She put in a lot of work in the summer.”
With the game tied 7-7, Texas used a 9-0 scoring run early in the first half to quell any notions that Texas State was primed for an upset. Two-point buckets by guards Brady Sanders and Krystle Henderson, two free throws by Enemkpali, and a three-point play by guard Empress Davenport gave Texas a 16-7 edge.
“We have dramatically improved since the exhibition game (against Midwestern State),” Aston said. “Tonight we more of a complete game than we’ve had so far.”
The most glaring difference was UT’s domination under the boards. Texas won the rebound battle 58-27, led by Enemkpali’s 17. Texas State hit just 16.7 percent from the field (5-30) in the second half.
Texas State (1-1) was led by Kaylan Martin, who had 10 points. Erin Peoples contributed 9 points for the Bobcats.
Texas (2-0) will take a break before playing New Mexico in its first road game Tuesday in Albuquerque. That will be followed by one of the marquee games of the year, a home contest against Stanford on Nov. 23.
Last season’s scoring high came in a 94-58 victory over Central Connecticut.