Sophomore post Collier averaging double-double

Across the landscape of NCAA women’s basketball, the name Charli Collier is becoming a familiar one.

Collier, a McDonald’s All-American and one of the top recruits out of the Class of 2018, is getting comfortable playing at the D-1 level and that is great news for the University of Texas basketball program. Bad news for everyone else. 

Leading into the Christmas break, Collier notched her biggest game at the collegiate level, scoring 20 points and grabbing 19 rebounds to lead the Lady Longhorns to an upset over No. 1-ranked Stanford. For Collier’s efforts, she was named the national player of the week by ESPNW.

It is a long way from last season, when Collier averaged 5.9 points a game and 4.3 rebounds as a freshman.

“Freshman year, it was rough,” Collier said. “I had to get used to everything, get comfortable. Now, I am in it. I know what I can do and the (Stanford) game solidified what I can do.”

What exactly can Collier do?

For starters, average a double-double. Collier is scoring 14.9 points a game and 10 rebounds with improvement in shooting percentages. The 6-5 forward can space the floor with her 3-point shooting and also get out on the break. 

In short, she is a nightmare to match up with. 

“Offensively and defensively, I can keep up now,” she said. “The first year, I got used to the speed. Now I can push the tempo.”

The impact Collier is having on UT, which has jumped into the rankings at No. 25, is a result of her bouncing back after from a subpar season by Collier standards. Having dominated at the high school level, the former Lady Eagle had to adjust to be a role player while finding her way and working to produce familiar results. 

“Mentally, just staying in,” she said of the adjustment. “My coach would just tell me to trust the process. It was so hard at times. It put the work in during the summer and the offseason and it is showing this year. I am a starter, a key player on the team.”

Collier said she put in work in the weight room to adjust to the college game. Her body transformed as she also focused on what she ate and when to sleep. 

“I took all that into account,” she said. 

She also embraced playing higher-level competition.

“Knowing I was not always going to get my way was the biggest challenge,” she said. “I got my way all through high school, it was just easier. Now I have some competition and it is a challenge every day.”

Much like Collier, the Lady Longhorns have had to prove themselves this season. The season started inconsistent with a loss at the University of South Florida and a one-sided loss at home to Arizona. The team found its footing and began to show improvement. 

Texas upset Tennessee and have ripped off four wins in a row to improve to 8-4 as it prepares to enter Big 12 play against TCU Friday. 

“We never got down,” Collier said. “We were just having to stay as a team, we had to come up from that.”

Collier said chemistry has been a big factor for the team gelling at the right time of the season heading into conference. 

“We have a new team, a completely different team,” she said. “We have freshmen that have never been in this position before. We have people starting now, playing 35 minutes that are in a position they haven’t been in before. People taking over new roles.”

Given the early returns, they are ready to make some noise in the Big 12 with Collier helping lead the way. 

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