LUBBOCK, Texas – Highlighted by five players in double-figures and perfect 7-of-7 shooting from sophomore Rhyle McKinney, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders blew past Alabama State, 91-56 Thursday night at United Supermarkets Arena.
In the victory, Texas Tech (6-1) outscored Alabama State 55-35 in the second and third periods.
McKinney led the way for Tech, finishing with 19 points and two assists. Freshman Bailey Maupin added 17 points, reaching the 100-point mark for her Lady Raider career.
Tech’s two post players were also effective on Thursday, as forward Jazmaine Lewis added 11 points on perfect 5-of-5 shooting, while Ella Tofaeono scored 10.
The Lady Raiders forced 24 Alabama State (0-5) turnovers, turning those turnovers into 26 points. On the flip side, the Lady Raiders had 20 assists on 35 made baskets and turned the ball over just eight times. Six of Tech’s eight turnovers came in the first half of play.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
In their first game back from the Thanksgiving trip to the Las Vegas Invitational, the Lady Raiders got off to a slow start, scoring just five points over the first five minutes of play.
The slow start saw Tech trail 6-5 with just over five minutes to play in the opening period (the lone time Tech trailed Thursday).
A 3-pointer from Bre’Amber Scott quickly gave the Lady Raiders the lead back and sparked an 8 -2 run that gave the Lady Raiders a 13-8 lead with 3:04 to play in the period. Scott finished with 6 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes of play.
After ASU answered with a layup that brought them to within 13-10, back-to-back layups from Tofaeono and guard Ashley Chevalier doubled Tech’s lead to 17-10 after 10 minutes of play.
In the second quarter, the Lady Raiders shook off an early 5-2 ASU surge, to score 18 of the first 26 points.
The run gave the Lady Raiders a 35-18 lead with 2:30 to play in the opening half.
ASU answered with the next seven points and 11 of the final 18 points to draw to within 42-29 at the break.
In the third quarter, the Lady Raiders began to pull away.
Behind back-to-back triples from McKinney, the Lady Raiders scored the first seven points and 23 of the first 29 to open a 59-35 lead with 6:27 to play in the third. The lead ballooned to 30 due in large part to a 10-0 run that was capped a McKinney 3-pointer.
Down the final moments of the third quarter, Alabama State drew to within 67-43, but a 3-pointer from Maupin sparked a quick 5-0 run that allowed the Lady Raiders to take a 72-45 lead in the fourth and final period.
In the fourth, Tech’s lead fell below 30 just once (84-56), before the Lady Raiders closed out an easy 91-56 victory.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
• McKinney’s 7-of-7 shooting is her second game without a miss this season. The guard shot 5-of-5 from the floor against Texas A&M CC.
• The seven made field goals without a miss are the most by a Lady Raider since Tofaeono also went 7-of-7 last year against TCU (Mar. 2).
• Tech forced 22 Alabama State turnovers the most they have forced in a game this season.
• The 22 forced turnovers are also the most forced under HC Krista Gerlich.
• Fresh off winning freshman of the week, Jasmine Shavers added 13 more points tonight for her third consecutive game with at least 10 points.
• With her 10-point performance, Tofaeono reached double figures for the first time this season.
• After her perfect offensive night, McKinney is now shooting 58.8 percent from the floor and 57.6 percent from 3-point range.
• Her and Maupin are now averaging 15.1 points and 15.0 points respectively.
• McKinney’s five 3-point makes are a new career-high.
• After missing just twice in her first 37 attempts, Maupin missed twice in just seven attempts tonight.
• Even with the two misses, the guard is still shooting 40-44 (90.1 percent).
• Coming into the night tied for second in the country in free-throw percentage (82.6 percent), Tech shot just 10-of-19 from the line (52.6 percent) for the game and just 2-of-8 in the opening half.
• The Lady Raiders are now shooting 46.1 percent from the floor and 44.1 percent from three. Coming into tonight’s game 46.1 percent from the floor would have been good for 35th in the country while 44.1 percent from 3-point range would be the best mark in the country.
COACH SPEAK (HC KRISTA GERLICH):
“They say that when you come back from a tournament, in particularly one that is a destination tournament, your first game back you can drag a little bit. I thought that’s certainly what we looked like in the first quarter. I thought we were dragging, and it was tough for us to get up and play with great energy. So, we really tried to challenge them in the first half just to play with more energy, defend better, rebound better, take care of the ball better and attack better. All of those things. As the game went on, we did get better at those things. We gave up too many points in the second quarter defensively, but I did think that we were sharing the ball better. Then, I thought the third quarter was exactly how we wanted it to be when you come out of a halftime where you didn’t play your best in the first half. I thought we came out in the third quarter and started it with some positive possessions offensively and got some stops. We pulled off the press and tried to get back to our halfcourt man defense and apply our rules there, and I thought that our kids really stepped up. We really shared the ball tremendously well. I thought you saw a lot of unselfish plays and a lot of extra passes, especially in the second half, that lead to us finishing with 20 assists. That’s one of my favorite stats. I’m really proud of the girls for just coming out and playing hard and getting the win. We just have to continue to get better every day.”
On being back home…
“It was great. We are so excited to be back home. It’s nice to be able to be in front of our fans. We want to encourage them to continue to come out because we need them. We need them to help us have that home court advantage, but also, I think we have a lot of home games this month. I think it’s an opportunity for them to see how much improvement our kids have made and get back to the Lady Raider basketball of old when we had big crowds. We need to have a lot of people behind us for Big 12 play.”