BOHLS: WHAT TEXAS WOMEN NEED TO DO IN TOUR­NEY

Coach vows ‘re­set’ af­ter loss to West Vir­ginia in Big 12 tour­ney semi­fi­nals.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Kirk Bohls Com­men­tary

While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy pre­dic­tion: 1. Texas’ women’s bas­ket­ball team has “pushed the re­set but­ton” af­ter los­ing to West Vir­ginia in the Big 12 Tour­na­ment semi­fi­nals and will open with de­fen­sive-minded Cen­tral Ar­kan­sas on Fri­day. Coach Karen As­ton gave the Longhorns four days off, “but not in a row. Trust me. The practices we had in be­tween caused them to need the days off. I tried to get back a lit­tle of our edge. Our kids have been great when they’ve stayed ab­so­lutely in the mo­ment. We didn’t un­der­stand the sense of ur­gency that West Vir­ginia had.” Lashann Higgs and Ariel Atkins have to score big if de­fenses dou­ble-team Brooke McCarty, and Joyner Holmes has to bring it on both ends. 2. Danny Wil­lett’s game hasn’t been on fire since he won last year’s Masters, the first Euro-

pean to do so since 1999. He’s nursed a sore back and en­joyed his new son, Zachariah. He’ll be here in Austin for next week’s World Golf Cham­pi­onships-Dell Tech­nolo­gies Match Play tour­na­ment as the world’s 14th-ranked player. He still hasn’t re­vealed the menu for the Cham­pi­ons Din­ner at Au­gusta for Masters week, although some have won­dered if the 29-yearold English­man will serve some­thing called toad-inthe-hole. I don’t think that’s the TexMex spe­cial. Since he over­took Jor­dan Spi­eth on the back nine to claim the green jacket, he’s en­joyed show­ing it off in some unique places. “To be able to wear it in the Royal Box at Wim­ble­don was pretty cool,” he said Tues­day. “I don’t sup­pose there’s been loads of peo­ple there that have been able to do that.” 3. If you saw Paul McCart­ney or Ge­orge Strait per­form at the Erwin Cen­ter over 28 of the last 40 years, you can thank John Gra­ham. As the re­tir­ing di­rec­tor of that fa­cil­ity, which is cel­e­brat­ing its 40th an­niver­sary this year, Gra­ham signs acts to come to Austin. Whom didn’t he land? “No ques­tion, it’d be the Rolling Stones,” he said. “I used to have a poster of the Rolling Stones in my of­fice. It turned into frus­tra­tion.” The big­gest reg­u­lar? That would be Strait, who also was the first singer Gra­ham brought to then­named As­sem­bly Hall in Cham­paign, Ill., where he worked af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Illi­nois. Strait per­formed at the Drum more than any other act. “I want to say we’ve had him 18 times, 14 in my time.” And his most mem­o­rable bas­ket­ball game there? The strollin’ Nolan game in 1990 where an irate Richard­son stormed off the court with­out get­ting T-ed up and re­turned to see Ar­kan­sas beat Tom Pen­ders’ Longhorns in OT. “That was the only time I thought we were go­ing to lose this build­ing and be un­able to con­trol the crowd. Nolan came back out and was greeted with 16,000 peo­ple boo­ing as loud as they can. (The crowd) was like a sin­gle, big an­i­mal.” 4. Congrats to Rob Pen­ders for post­ing his 400th ca­reer win as head base­ball coach at St. Ed­ward’s. His Hill­top­pers, who are tied for first in the Heart­land Con­fer­ence and lead the league in hits, runs, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases and ERA, have ad­vanced to the NCAA South Cen­tral Re­gional Tour­na­ment five straight years. He’s 83 wins ahead of the next most suc­cess­ful coach in pro­gram history. “This team has a lot of new play­ers who are feel­ing out their roles,” Pen­ders said. “Once they buy into those roles, we will be a re­ally good team with tal­ented play­ers.” Se­nior catcher-out­fielder Gable Whi­tacre, a Bowie prod­uct, leads the league in slug­ging, RBIs and home runs. 5. Was great lis­ten­ing to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd when he stopped by the Amer­i­can-States­man on Mon­day for a round-ta­ble dis­cus­sion. Todd’s an avid run­ner at 4:30 ev­ery morn­ing. “When else are you go­ing to find time to run?” he told about 20 of us. The Mi­ami na­tive is a big-time Hur­ri­canes fan and kid­ded around that Texas should join the ACC and keep the Longhorn Net­work. OK, maybe he wasn’t kid­ding. By the way, Todd said, “Oh, we love Manny Diaz at Mi­ami. He’s been great.” 6. Wil­lett isn’t the only one ex­cited about go­ing to the Masters. So is Austin’s Jackie Feld­man, who qual­i­fied for this year’s April 2 fi­nals of the Drive, Chip and Putt com­pe­ti­tion for girls 14-15 by win­ning the re­gional fi­nals at South­ern Hills in Tulsa. She has played in mul­ti­ple Ju­nior World Golf Cham­pi­onships in San Diego since she was 8 and played in the U.S. Kids Golf World Cham­pi­onships in Pine­hurst ev­ery year un­til age 12. She was the only par­tic­i­pant of all boys and girls to hole a chip. She has been play­ing golf since age 4 and hopes to play in col­lege. 7. Dan Wal­lach, a sports and gam­ing law ex­pert, is op­ti­mistic that le­gal­ized sports bet­ting is com­ing maybe as early as next year. He en­vi­sions a near-fu­ture sce­nario where a fan at a sta­dium can place an in-game bet at kiosks in­side the arena. Wal­lach, part of a SXSW panel, said to keep an eye on whether the Supreme Court de­cides by June to ac­cept an ap­peal from the state of New Jersey over a law passed in 2014 that al­lowed res­i­dents to gam­ble on games in­side a race­track or casino. The law has been over­turned in lower court rul­ings. The plain­tiffs are the NFL, NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA and the U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice. Wal­lach be­lieves Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, a for­mer New Jersey casino owner, would fa­vor le­gal­ized gam­bling on games. He should. No rea­son why the gov­ern­ment shouldn’t tax gam­bling monies amount­ing to a stag­ger­ing $150 bil­lion a year. 8. Why does any­one trade with Bill Belichick? The Pa­tri­ots scored big again and get bet­ter and younger with studs like wide re­ceiver Brandin Cooks, corner­back Stephon Gil­more and de­fen­sive end Kony Ealy. Who wouldn’t give up a first-round pick for Cooks, a proven ver­ti­cal threat? Drew Brees may need to have a word with his gen­eral man­ager. 9. “Lo­gan” lasts for­ever. I like the se­ries, but this one was overly vi­o­lent. The movie drags in the last half hour. Gave it 6 ducks.

Crazy pre­dic­tion: In 201718, Texas wins a bowl game, goes to the Sweet 16 in bas­ket­ball and Col­lege World Se­ries in base­ball.

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