Stock Up, Stock Down: Thoughts on the season-openers

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Most of the state has now played a college basketball game. Of the 24 teams, only UIW, Sam Houston, Texas Tech, UTEP and UTA haven't played yet as of November 11.

So, let's do some small sample size overreactions to these first games. Every week, I'll be writing a Stock Up, Stock Down column that surveys the landscape of Division I basketball around Texas. For this first one, we're looking at Tuesday night's basketball games.


Stock Up: Kyndall Hunter

Vic Schaefer's Texas team is really, really young. In fact, it features two freshmen in the starting lineup.

But the most impressive freshman on Tuesday night wasn't one of those starters. Instead, it was former Cy Creek guard Kyndall Hunter.

Hunter's high school teammate, Rori Harmon, gets most of the attention when the duo are discussed. She's the one starting for Texas. She was the higher-ranked recruit. But as someone who has been on the Kyndall Hunter bandwagon for the past two years, Tuesday's game wasn't a surprise.

Playing 14 minutes off the bench. Hunter went 10-for-13 — including a 7-for-8 mark from deep — with 27 points and two steals.

Hunter's role before the season seemed like it would be to be the sparkplug scorer who could come in and drain some shots. And, well, that's what her role was on Tuesday.

Things get tougher, with Stanford up next. But at least in that first game, Hunter delivered.


Stock Up: Texas State

Texas State lost, but it was a pretty good loss, as they trailed by just six at one point in the closing minutes against Baylor.


Against Baylor.

On a night where Da'Nasia Hood shot just 8-for-21, the Bobcats managed to do something that non-conference teams don't do much against the Bears historically: put a scare in them.

The Bobcats only shot 38 percent from the field and 26.5 percent from 3-point. And yet they hung tough, finding ways to keep Baylor from going on runs, playing some solid defense, and just generally looking like a team that wasn't overmatched against one of the elite teams in the country.


Stock Up: UTRGV

Another team that lost but lost in an impressive way was UTRGV.

I picked the Vaqueros to finish 11th in the WAC in this year's Dave Campbell's Texas Basketball. Richard Dean picked the team's opponent, South Florida, to win the American. The AP voters put South Florida at No. 21 in the preseason poll.

But there the Vaqueros were, keeping things close against the best (or second-best, depending on how much you believe in SFA, which I do) team that UTRGV will play this season.


One, by holding Bethy Mununga to just 3-for-9 shooting. By making a concerted effort to not let USF's star beat them, the Vaqueros were able to even things out some.

UTRGV also got surprising production from Taylor Muff and Maria Llorente, who combined for 25 points. If the team hadn't turned the ball over 23 times, this could have been more than just a close contest.

Suddenly, I'm wondering if UTRGV has something. The two players I thought would lead the team, Sara Bershers and Arianna Sturdivant, didn't do a ton offensively. If those two get going, the WAC becomes a lot more interesting.


Stock Down: Baylor, Maybe?

Baylor won on Tuesday, by which I mean technically, the scoreboard says that Baylor won.

But when Texas State is within six late, is that really a win for Baylor?

Nicki Collen's team played a lot like I was expecting, with way more threes than we usually saw from a Kim Mulkey team:


So, Baylor's shooting!

But they weren't making them, connecting on just four of the 25 threes. Jaden Owens made two. New additions Jordan Lewis and Ja'Mee Asberry had one each, which was not what I expected based on how well both shot last year. Sarah Andrews was 0-for-6. Kamaria McDaniels didn't play, which...not sure if that was a rotation thing or an injury thing.

Baylor can still beat everyone it plays because of NaLyssa Smith, but if the team is going to play less through the bigs, then those guards have to make shots. Baylor doesn't have a lot of depth up front, so it makes sense to go more guard-heavy to relieve the pressure on Smith and Egbo, but if the shots don't go in, then you'll just wind up with more pressure on Smith and Egbo.

Anyway, Baylor: stock down, maybe.

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