Gonzales, Jones, lead No. 1 seed Texas past Drexel 82-42

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Shaylee Gonzales scored 21 points, Taylor Jones added 18 and No. 1 seed Texas beat No. 16 Drexel 82-42 on Friday in the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

Gonzales converted 5 of 6 3-point attempts while matching her season-high in scoring, and she made three steals. Jones hit 7 of 11 shots inside for the Longhorns, who have won 13 of their last 14 games.

Drexel (19-15) had only one starter taller than 6 feet — 6-2 Hedda Staatman. Texas (31-4), rotating four post players who are between 6-1 and 6-4 most of the game, outscored Drexel 44-18 in the paint and 22-6 on second-chance points thanks to a 26-10 edge in offensive rebounding.

“I don't think I've every seen that type of size,” Drexel guard Grace O'Neill said. “Definitely a challenge. They did a great job on the boards.”

Texas' dominance inside eventually resulted in open 3-pointers for Gonzales. She made three in the third third quarter without missing.

“I was wide open,” Gonzales said. “They didn't guard the wing very well. Obviously, we pass it inside, they collapse and double on the post players and then the guards are open on the outside.”

Freshman Madison Booker had a season-best 14 assists, the most ever by a Longhorn in an NCAA Tournament game. DeYona Gaston had 11 points and 10 rebounds — eight on offense — in a game she considered missing because of illness. Guard Shay Holle had seven rebounds, four blocks, three steals.

Gaston said she barely slept Thursday night. She missed the team's morning shoot-around to visit a doctor who said she did not have a fever and wasn't contagious.

“Two hours,” Gaston said. “I woke up pretty bad.”

Coach Vic Schaefer said he was proud of Gaston, a senior who has long been one of his favorite players.

“She felt really lousy,” Schaefer said. “I really didn't expect her to play. She ends up getting up off the deck and playing really, really well.”

Amaris Baker led Drexel with 10 points. The Dragons shot 35% and committed 21 turnovers.

“They're a great team, a great defensive team,” Drexel coach Amy Mallon said.

Texas started the game in its preferred full-court press with mixed results. The Longhorns forced a few early turnovers, but Drexel scored some baskets after breaking the press. Texas then took a 40-20 halftime lead with strong half-court defense, outscoring Drexel 21-8 in the second quarter while limiting the Dragons to 4-for-12 shooting and inducing seven turnovers.

The Longhorns outscored Drexel 34-12 in the third quarter.

“The third quarter, that's us,” Schaefer said. “That's what I see sometimes in practice.”

DEFENSE DIDN’T HOLD

Drexel limited opponents to 55 points a game before facing Texas. The Longhorns blew past 55 by midway through the third quarter. Their 82 points were the most scored against Drexel this season. Florida State had the previous high during a 76-56 win.

TOUGHER TIME FOR BAKER

Drexel’s Baker thrived during the CAA Tournament, averaging 19.8 points as the Dragons won four straight games to earn the championship. Baker was guarded by Holle, who became the Longhorns’ top perimeter defender after Rori Harmon suffered a season-ending knee injury in late December. Baker scored six points in the first quarter, hitting 3 of 4 shots, but made 2 of 9 the rest of the game.

UP NEXT:

Texas plays the winner of Alabama and Florida State on Sunday.

___

AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness