Texas guard Rori Harmon was absent Wednesday night from the Longhorns’ 97-52 win over Jackson State.

Head coach Vic Schaefer provided no comment on Harmon’s injury after the game, only telling reporters that it happened during the team shootaround earlier in the day. Harmon, who spent the game on the bench for the Longhorns, appeared to be wearing a brace on her right knee, and she also was walking with a limp.

The junior guard is set to undergo testing Thursday, after which the school will issue a news release on the severity of the injury.

“We’ll know more [Thursday],” Schaefer said. “I don’t really have anything for you right now.”

The coach added that he didn’t say much to the team about Harmon before the game.

“My heart hurts for the kids that are out,” Schaefer said. “These (other) kids deserve my best. I’m proud of my team. They really rose to the occasion.”

Harmon is one of the best two-way guards in the country, with UConn head coach Geno Auriemma even saying that she’s “the best player we’ve played against this year, by far,” after UConn’s 80-68 loss to Texas in early December.

She had 27 points, 13 assists in that game and helped her team hold UConn’s Paige Bueckers to 13 points.

This is not the first time Harmon has been sidelined with an injury. She missed the first five games of the 2022-23 season with a foot injury. But she has established herself as a skilled defender, and she is averaging a team-high 7.8 assists (second in the country) and 3.1 steals per game. She also is averaging 14.1 points and 5.6 rebounds, both good for second on the Texas roster.

“Ain’t nobody on our team play harder than Rori Harmon,” Schaefer told ESPN early in December. “She brings that to the table every day, every practice, every game, and that’s what impacts your team in such a positive way.”

The Pro Volleyball Federation has signed its first media deal, bringing televised professional volleyball games to CBS Sports. 

CBS Sports is the first media organization to partner with the PVF, and the deal likely includes domestic and international rights. According to Sportico, the deal includes a minimum of 10 matches to be aired in 2024 along with the league semifinals and championship games. 

“This is another groundbreaking day in the history of Pro Volleyball Federation,” PVF co-founder Dave Whinham told Sportico. “We have a great partner that believes in the growth of women’s professional volleyball in North America. We are very proud of this relationship and excited about the dynamic new ways we will be able to present our matches within the CBS Sports platform.”

The PVF started in 2022 and includes seven teams with plans to expand next season. The existing teams are the Atlanta Vibe, Columbus Fury, Vegas Thrill, Grand Rapids Rise, Omaha Supernovas, Orlando Valkryies and San Diego Mojo, and the league will introduce teams in Kansas City, Dallas and Indianapolis in 2025.

“[Volleyball] is the only team sport in the world where the women’s version doesn’t take a backseat to the men’s version,” said Stephen Evans, one of the founders of the PVF. “And most people will tell you that the women’s version is more fun to watch and attend. It’s not a thing taking away from the men’s game. It’s just a different game.”

The matches will be aired primarily on CBS Sports Network, with the possibility that some may be aired on CBS throughout the partnership term. The PVF’s national broadcast schedule, which will include other media partnerships, will be released at a later date.

Texas took home the NCAA women’s volleyball title Sunday, sweeping No. 1 overall seed Nebraska to win its second straight championship.

The win came in front of a record-breaking crowd of 19,727 – breaking the indoor volleyball attendance record set just days before during the NCAA semifinals. And it caps off a record-breaking year for attendance in women’s volleyball, centered around Nebraska.

“You think you’re invincible. You think it’s destiny. ‘It’s ours.’ And I think Texas experienced that,” Nebraska coach John Cook said.

The Cornhuskers set the record for the largest crowd at a women’s sporting event, hosting 92,003 fans at an outdoor match at Memorial Stadium. They also had the largest home season total with 255,953 people turning out. And now, they are part-owners of the largest NCAA volleyball game.

Yet despite Nebraska’s historic season, there weren’t any doubts Sunday about Texas being national champion once again. Libero Asjia O’Neal served 10 consecutive points in the second set, which proved pivotal in the 3-0 sweep.

“Volleyball is a huge game of momentum,” O’Neal said. “During that run, I could totally feel the momentum shift to our side. We were playing with so much confidence and joy and I just knew that we had the game in the bag. … I was smiling because I was so happy with how we were feeling. You just feel it. I felt we were going to win the match.”

And the serving really became the key to the game.

“They had a level of serving we haven’t seen all year and that really impacted us in our momentum and our confidence and then everything started going their way and they got all the momentum and we just couldn’t ever get it back,” Cook said.

Texas took home the title in the first NCAA volleyball championship match to be televised on ABC.

“We had all the confidence in the world,” Texas star outside hitter Madisen Skinner told ESPN after the match. “I’ll say it until I die — this team was peaking right now and we just had so much trust and belief in one another. I mean our service pressure was insane. It gave us so many options in transition.”

O’Neal called it “the most joyous season I’ve ever had in my life.”

“We were just able to play free — we love each other and support one another and throughout the whole year, it was just so fun,” O’Neal said. “It was definitely challenging at times, but just today as an example, everyone played free, everyone had confidence in one another, and we were able to go out and take down some really incredible teams.”

Nebraska volleyball dominated throughout the season, but in the national championship match, Texas flipped the script.

The second-seeded Longhorns defeated the Huskers, who entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 overall seed, in a three-set sweep (25-22, 25-14, 25-11) to win the title for the second year in a row.

Before Sunday’s final at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, Nebraska (33-2) had lost just one set during its tournament run. The Huskers had lost just one match all season, to Big Ten rival Wisconsin in November.

Before Sunday’s final, Texas (28-4) had just one clean sweep during the tournament, a 3-0 win against SMU in the second round. The Longhorns needed to save a match point against Tennessee in the round of 16.

After that, though, battle-tested Texas bested the top three ranked teams in the country, defeating Stanford, 3-1, in the quarterfinals, Wisconsin, 3-1, in the national semifinals, and then a young but powerful Nebraska squad in the title match.

Texas outside hitter Madisen Skinner won Most Outstanding Player for the national semifinals. She posted match highs of 16 kills and five digs in the championship match.

The NCAA volleyball final is set, with Nebraska and Texas set to face off at 3 p.m. ET Sunday. Sunday’s match at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, will be the first volleyball national championship televised on ABC.

This marks Nebraska’s 11th trip to the NCAA final, with the Huskers having won five national titles to this point. They defeated fellow No. 1 seed Pitt in a 3-0 sweep, 25-20, 25-23, 25-17. Nebraska will face defending national champion Texas, a No. 2 seed, after the Longhorns upset No. 1 seed Wisconsin in four sets in the other semifinal.

For the Longhorns, Sunday will be their 10th NCAA final appearance. They have won three titles and will be going for their fourth. This will be the two teams’ third matchup in the national championship, with Nebraska beating Texas in 2015 and in 1995.

From 1996 to 2010, the two were conference rivals when Nebraska was still a part of the Big 12. Nebraska currently holds the series’ edge, 33-24. It’s a storied rivalry, with the first match between the programs coming in 1981. The latest match was the 2021 NCAA regional finals, which was won by the Huskers.

“There’s such a rich tradition of alumni, All-Americans, people that have won national championships on both sides,” Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. “It’s Celtics vs. Lakers.”

Texas' Marianna Singletary spikes the ball against Wisconsin's Anna Smrek in the NCAA volleyball semifinals. (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s national team is preparing to welcome its next head coach. And as the new chapter begins, college soccer stars could get their chances on the USWNT roster.

With the NCAA tournament kicking off Friday, Just Women’s Sports highlights four players who deserve a look from incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes.

The recent debuts of Mia Fishel, 22, and Jaedyn Shaw, 18, underscored the shift in the national team, as a youth movement is beginning to take over in the presence of veterans. Already, Fishel and Shaw have provided a sneak peek at what the future could look like, with each scoring a goal in the last match against Colombia.

Our previous edition of this list picked out NWSL players who should get USWNT consideration. This time around, we turn to the college ranks to spotlight prospects who could receive call-ups in 2024.

Trinity Byars, 20, Texas

A standout for Texas, which claimed a No. 5 seed in the 64-team bracket, Byars has the abilities to be a top pick in the 2024 NWSL draft. Through three seasons with the Longhorns, she has had 46 goals and 32 assists in 64 games. She also was an all-state sprinter in high school, making her an explosive forward with the power to outrun opposing defenses – a skill which has helped other USWNT forwards, including Mallory Swanson.

While the USWNT certainly has options at forward, Byars could warrant a look as the team retires star players such as Megan Rapinoe. She also has extensive youth experience, including being nominated for U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Player of the Year award in 2019.

Lexi Missimo competes for the U-23 national team in March 2023. (Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sports)

Lexi Missimo, 20, Texas

Missimo is another star out of of Texas that has spent time in the USWNT’s youth system. The midfielder has been linked to both Manchester City and Arsenal, and she has at times been compared to the likes of Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis.

Considering what those three have accomplished, Missimo could be the next big thing for the USWNT midfield.

Ayo Oke competes for the U-23 national team in March 2023. (Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports)

Ayo Oke, 20, UCLA

Oke transferred to UCLA from Cal ahead of the 2023 season, and she and the Bruins enter the NCAA tournament with a No. 1 seed. In the 2022 season, she posted nine assists as a right back.

The 20-year-old defender also has youth national team experience, playing as a starter on the U-23 national team in March 2023. She also played at the U-20 Women’s World Cup and helped the U.S. to the U-20 Concacaf Championship in 2022.

She’s been a part of U.S. Soccer’s youth system since the U-15 age group, and as the USWNT looks to replace aging defenders (and Emily Sonnett seemingly transitions to the midfield), Oke deserves a look.

Reilyn Turner competes for the U-23 national team in March 2023. (Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sports)

Reilyn Turner, 21, UCLA

Reilyn Turner, who became the first college athlete to sign an NIL deal with Nike, has been a star for UCLA in three seasons. In 2022, she was named the Most Outstanding Player at the College Cup, helping UCLA to the national championship. And in 2023, she is putting together her best year to date, with 10 goals and six assists through 18 games played.

While Turner would have to compete against a stacked forward group on the USWNT, she has the ability to show up in big moments. A fixture on U.S. youth national teams, she should see a senior USWNT call-up soon.