It was a tough NCAA Tournament for the state of Texas. Just two in-state programs made it into the 68-team women's field, and neither made it to the Sweet 16. (The state also had seven teams in the WNIT, with only Texas Tech left.)
But while the state won't be hoisting the trophy in a couple of weeks, it's possible that a former Texas high school star will. Below are the five best Texas high school players left in the tournament.
Alexis Morris, LSU - Legacy Christian
Alexis Morris has taken a long path to LSU. The No. 18 recruit in the country in ESPN's HoopGurlz rankings when she was at Legacy Christian in Beaumont, Morris was a four-time TAPPS 3A Player of the Year and was the 2017 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year. She went to Baylor and made an impact as a freshman, averaging 9.4 points per game and making the Big 12 All-Freshman team. Then, she went to Rutgers, sitting out her first year and playing seven games in her second year. After that, Morris went to Texas A&M for a year, before landing back with Kim Mulkey last year, this time at LSU. She made an immediate impact, averaging 15.0 points per game last year and 14.7 this season. While she was relatively quiet offensively in LSU's first two tournament games, Morris is someone who can easily score 20-plus points and make some big plays for the three-seed Tigers.
Camryn Brown, UCLA - Prestonwood Christian Academy
Brown doesn't do a lot of scoring, but the two-time TAPPS Defensive Player of the Year is a key player for the Bruins, starting 31 of the team's 37 games this season. While she only averages 3.0 points per game, she's done a lot of other things when she's on the floor, adding 3.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. The 5-11 guard might not wow on the score sheet, but she's a vital part of this Bruins team and is a great offensive rebounder for her size, pulling down 1.9 of them per game.
Sa'Myah Smith, LSU - DeSoto
Smith arrived at LSU as a highly-touted prospect, ranked No. 57 in her class by ESPN, the highest of any Dallas-area player. A two-time 6A champion at DeSoto, Smith has started two games as a freshman for LSU, averaging 15.1 minutes per contest with averages of 4.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. The 6-foot-2 forward brings some nice size to the floor, but she's unlikely to see a lot of minutes going forward, as she was only on the floor for three minutes against Michigan in the second round. Smith will be a star for this LSU team down the line, but right now there's just so much talent for her to get consistent minutes.
Ayanna Thompson, Ole Miss - DeSoto
Thompson, the No. 8 ranked player from Texas in last year’s recruiting class per ESPN, was a key part of DeSoto’s successful 2021 team that won the 6A title. She’s played in 29 games for the Rebels this season, averaging 12.5 minutes per game with averages of 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. The only freshman on Ole Miss’ veteran-heavy team, Thompson will likely see a major increase in minutes next season. But she’s also been a key player during the tournament, averaging 8.5 points per game during the first weekend of the tournament and shooting 50 percent or better from the floor in both contests. She'll be a key reserve in the Sweet 16 game against Louisville.