LUBBOCK, Texas – Behind a strong defensive effort that included 19 forced turnovers and just 38 total points allowed, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders dropped UC Riverside 59-38 Tuesday afternoon at United Supermarkets Arena.
In the final game before the Christmas holiday, the Lady Raiders (11-1) locked down on the defensive end, allowing 10 points or fewer in three of four quarters.
The 38 points allowed today were the fewest a Lady Raider team has allowed since the 2019-20 season when Tech held ULM to 38 points in an 83-38 victory over the Warhawks. Ironically, that game was also played on Dec. 22.
UC Riverside (2-8) were led by Anna Blount who scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds. Blount was the only Highlander to reach double-figures, as UC Riverside shot just 15-of-50 from the floor.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
After UC Riverside scored five of the first seven points of the game, the Lady Raiders responded back with 13-1 run that encompassed the final 8:04 of the period.
The surge was sparked by five quick points from senior Katie Ferrell. The final three of those points came on Ferrell’s first career triple as a Lady Raider.
Tech’s strong close to the opening quarter gave them an early 15-6 advantage after 10 minutes of action.
In the second quarter, the Lady Raiders used a quick basket from Lewis to go up 17-6 with 9:53 to play in the period.
UC Riverside answered with the next five and 13 of the next 15 to draw to within 24-19 with 2:05 to play in the opening half.
With the momentum beginning to switch to the visitors, Tech turned to Lewis, who scored the final four points of the quarter. The surge allowed the Lady Raiders to enjoy a 28-19 lead.
Behind a bucket from senior guard Bre’Amber Scott, Tech scored four of the first six points of the quarter to take a 32-20 lead with 7:42 to play in the third.
UC Riverside answered with the games’ next four points, holding the Lady Raiders scoreless until an Ella Tofaeono bucket with 4:07 to play in the third.
The two teams traded baskets down the stretch of the period, as Tech led 37-29 going to the fourth.
Looking to put the game away, the Lady Raiders scored the first six of the fourth and 11 of the first 13 to go up 48-31 with 5:56 to play in the quarter. The 11-2 run was capped by five quick points from Maupin.
UC Riverside answered with a 7-2 run that brought them to within 50-38 with 3:42 to play, but the Lady Raiders closed the game on an 8-0 to close out the 59-38 victory.
With the win, Tech moves to 11-1 on the year, the best overall record in the Big 12.
With a victory next week against Mississippi Valley State, the Lady Raiders have a chance to close out non-conference play 12-1 which would clinch both the most wins in the league heading into conference play and the best overall record. Kansas State currently sits at 11-2 overall but will be idle until Big 12 play starts on Dec. 31.
COACH SPEAK (HC KRISTA GERLICH):
“We call these games right before Christmas break trap games for a reason. We talked the last three or four days just about making sure that we’re focused, prepared, high energy and not distracted about going home for the Christmas break. It’s every coach’s nightmare trying to prepare your team for this game. I certainly don’t want to take anything away from UC Riverside. Nicole Powell, their coach, is a fantastic coach. She had them playing really, really hard and she’s got quite the pedigree. She’s going to do some really great things there. And I’ll tell you they hung in there with us, and they made it ugly. We turned the ball over way too much, we had trouble getting in a rhythm and just trying to find some separation. But we did see some good things. I thought that we executed our press well at times. I thought that late in the game especially the fourth quarter we finally saw some execution of offense. We put a few back-to-back quality possessions together, but the turnovers, and we had entirely too many, are a lack of focus. There’s no doubt that’s a lack of focus. Even at the free throw line. We didn’t get there very many times, which is a problem, but shooting 50 percent even though we just shot six, that’s a lack of focus. There’s a lot going on in this game, there’s a lot of family here, there’s just a lot of distractions and all of those are excuses but I’m just glad that these girls came out on top. That they found a way to win and that we extended the lead a bit. Now they can go celebrate for three days with their families before we return to get ready for Mississippi Valley State.”
On what she wants to see in the Lady Raiders non-conference finale on Tuesday:
“We need to continue to play with consistency. We are just really struggling with that right now. For the most part we don’t really have bad quarters, which happened last year. But we are just not extending leads early and keeping them until the end of the game. I would like to be able to come in on Tuesday and play at a fast pace to get our conditioning back from having a few days off. I want to see great effort and I want to see better focus while continuing to make defense a priority. I thought today we defended fairly well. They only scored 38 points which is great, and we held them to their lowest output they have had this season, which was our goal. But at the same time, I felt like we just missed some open shots, and that wasn’t because of our defense at times. So, we have to continue to work on that, which is what the goal is going to be on Tuesday.”
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
• The Lady Raiders forced 19 turnovers and held UCR to just 15 total field goals, the fewest in a game since ULM scored just 13 back on Dec. 22, 2019.
• With today’s win the Lady Raiders have already equaled the win total from a season ago.
• The Lady Raiders went to the line just six times on Thursday despite entering the game ranked No. 10 in the country in free throws made per game (17.6) and No. 22 in attempts per game (22.2)
• Tech turned the ball over more than 20 times in a game for just the second time all season
• The Lady Raiders held an opponent below 50 points for the fifth time this season. Tech is a perfect 5-0 in those games.
• Scott scored a season-low four points today, snapping a three-game streak where she scored at least 15 points.
• Maupin’s double-figure game was her ninth of the season.
• With the win, Tech extended its win streak to 10 for the first time since the 2019-20 season. That year, Tech started the season 11-0.
• The 11 non-conference wins are the most by a Lady Raider team since the 2011-12 season when Tech went 12-0 in non-conference play.
• With her 10-point performance, Lewis recorded her sixth game with at least 10 points this season. The post-player had just five games with 10 points or more before this season.
The Lady Raiders return from the Christmas break on Tuesday, Dec. 27 when they welcome Mississippi Valley State to Lubbock. Tip-off from United Supermarkets Arena is set for 2 p.m.
Release provided by Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics