Monday December 4, 2023

Texas Teams Fight Through Storm

  • Longhorn athletes have already dealt with COVID cancelations, but last week’s storm brought particularly grueling challenges.
  • taff and athletes, like millions of Texans, struggled with ravaged power grids, no running water, and a rationed food supply.
Photo: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks
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Last week, Texas Longhorns women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer and his family alternated sleeping at various hotel rooms and his office after losing power during the storm. 

“Our room was extremely cold,” Schaefer said of his Thursday lodgings during a Zoom call with reporters. “I slept in a warm-up suit with blankets on top of my bed.” 

The game cancelations were the least of Texas basketball teams’ worries. Staff and athletes, like millions of Texans, struggled with ravaged power grids, no running water, and a rationed food supply.

Coping with Disruption

Longhorn athletes have already dealt with COVID cancelations, but last week’s storm brought particularly grueling challenges.

Men’s coach Shaka Smart, instead of preparing for three originally scheduled games, was making sure athletes could access essentials.

“It’s like, OK, do you have power? Do you have heat? Do you have water? Do you have food?” Smart told reporters over Zoom. “And the answer to a lot of those questions, for players and staff, was ‘No.’ And so now, we’re scrambling and trying to figure things out.” 

Fortunately, women’s players didn’t lose power or water, Schaefer said, though he worried about athletes who lived far from campus.

“For about three or four days there, we certainly weren’t thinking basketball,” Schaefer said.

Women’s forward/center Charli Collier even teamed up with a local pizzeria to provide food for families in need.

Returning to the Hardwood

Teams statewide returned to the court over the weekend.

Both Longhorn teams held full practices and were able to play on Feb. 20 and 21. They’ll spend the next two weeks playing as many games as possible before the Big 12 tournaments, and before the No. 14 men head to Indianapolis.

After their Feb. 21 win, Schaefer told reporters, “It’s hard to do what these kids are doing, y’all.”

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