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Freshman guard Gisella Maul makes the case for more playing time as No. 7 Texas beats TCU

Danny Davis
Austin American-Statesman
Texas guard Gisella Maul makes a pass during the Jan. 24 game against Oklahoma. The freshman drew praise after the Longhorns' 65-43 victory Saturday at TCU. "She was making winning plays," coach Vic Schaefer said.

As usual, Texas basketball coach Vic Schaefer was accompanied by three of his players to Saturday night's postgame press conference.

It wasn't surprising to see DeYona Gaston and Shay Holle on the podium. They're the two longest-tenured Longhorns. But freshman guard Gisella Maul was making her debut in this type of setting.

Maul didn't play much for No. 7 Texas on Saturday, but she made an impact in a 65-43 win at TCU. Over 14 minutes, she grabbed five rebounds and distributed three assists.

She first got into the game when starting point guard Madison Booker departed with 3 minutes, 50 seconds left in the third quarter because of an undisclosed injury. Maul played the rest of the way. She and Booker shared the floor for 76 seconds in the fourth quarter.

"You're over there as a coach, you've got assistants telling you, 'Hey, so-and-so's ready, so-and-so's ready.' I'm like, 'They can get ready all they want; Gisella Maul ain't coming out of the game,鈥 鈥 Schaefer said. "She was doing too many things to help us win. She was making winning plays."

Maul finished with just two points, but that basket came during an impressive 12-second spurt. During that short span in the fourth quarter, Maul grabbed two offensive rebounds to keep a possession alive. Then Texas drew up an out-of-bounds play for her, and she knocked down a jump shot.

A two-time state champion at nearby Cedar Park, Maul joined the Longhorns midway through the 2022-23 season as she continued to rehab a knee injury that ended her high school career. She has been cleared to play all season, but playing time has been hard to find. She didn't play in four of UT's first 11 Big 12 games and didn't play for more than eight minutes in any of the other seven.

On Saturday, Schaefer praised her and said, "All she does is work and stays in the picture." Schaefer told reporters that Maul is usually among the first players on the floor for the pregame shootaround and has found reps in practice by running with the program's scout team.

"I'm just trying to find ways to get better every single day," Maul said. "If that means being on scout team, going against my teammates every day, that's what I'm willing to do. I just want to win, so I'm going to do whatever it takes to win. My teammates, honestly, I do it for them."

Texas was led by Holle's 14 points and Booker's 13. TCU (15-8, 2-10) pulled to within 29-27 with 6:45 left in the third quarter, but the Longhorns put the game out of reach by closing the period on a 20-5 run.

With six games left, Texas (22-3, 9-3) is in third place in the Big 12 standings, trailing Oklahoma (17-6, 11-1) and Kansas State (21-3, 10-2). Texas will play at Houston (12-11, 3-9) on Wednesday.