LUBBOCK, Texas – Lady Raider Nation, it was worth the wait.
In the first matchup between former Big 12 foes in 4,295 days, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders downed the University of Colorado, 86-85 in overtime Wednesday night at United Supermarkets Arena in a nearly three hour thriller.
The game was the second of three games that Texas Tech (2-1) will play in the 2022 Preseason WNIT Tournament, and featured 13 lead changes and 15 ties. In the victory, Texas Tech (2-1) made 36-of-41 from the line, tying the school record for free throws made in a contest.
On head coach Krista Gerlich‘s birthday, her entire roster delivered quite the birthday present, securing the fifth-consecutive overall victory in the all-time series against Colorado (3-1).
The win avenged last night’s 69-63 nailbiter against Jackson State, and opened the door for the Lady Raiders to share the Preseason WNIT Team title with a win Sunday at Louisiana.
Down by as many 16 points early, the Lady Raiders used a 18-2 run that encompassed the latter part of the second period and the early part of the third, to draw to within 41-all with 7:30 to play in the third.
The run started with a deft coaching decision from the Lady Raider staff; a switch from man-to-man defense to an aggressive two-three zone.
Gerlich’s aforementioned decision, stagnated the potent Buffaloes offense, holding the NCAA Tournament participant from a year ago to just three shot attempts (all 3-pointers) over the final 2:55 of the first half.
Colorado turned the ball over three times in that span, allowing the Lady Raiders to make the charge previously mentioned.
Bailey Maupin began the run with a clutch corner pocket triple. The shot slashed the game-high Buffs lead from 39-23 to 39-26.
Maupin ended with 20 points on the night, shooting a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. The Gruver product also finished an impressive 4-of-6 from distance in her first 20-point performance she will turn in for her hometown school.
After projected first round WNBA pick Quay Miller picked off a bad pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup that gave Colorado its final 15-point lead of the night at 41-26, Tech went to work on both ends of the floor.
A Bryn Gerlich drive resulted in two free throws that cut the Buffs lead to 41-28 with 2:55 to play. Two possessions later, the lead was nearly down to single digits, as Rhyle McKinney connected on a mid-range jumper to bring the Lady Raiders to within 41-30.
For the second consecutive night, McKinney led the way for her side, dropping a career-best 22 points in 36 minutes and 11 seconds of action.
Four straight free-throws to close the period from senior guard Bre’Amber Scott trimmed the once 16-point deficit to a much more manageable, 41-34 at the break.
Making her season debut after missing the home opener due to a personal pause, Scott was simply phenomenal, dropping 14 points in 21 minutes of action. The guard was a team-best +16 and went an impressive 11-of-14 from the line.
The momentum from the end of the first half continued in half number two, as Ella Tofaeono connected on a second-chance layup that brought the home side to within 41-36.
After a three-second violation on the Buffaloes, McKinney nailed a critical triple that brought Tech to within a pair (41-39).
With United Supermarkets Arena rocking, Scott took a charge on Arizona transfer Aaronette Vonleh that gave her side the chance to either tie or take the lead.
On the ensuing, Tech possession, the younger Gerlich did just that, hitting a clutch layup that tied the game at 41-all.
The deadlock was the first time Tech did not trail in the basketball game since the 7:15 mark of the first quarter.
After a pair of free throws gave Colorado a slim 46-44 advantage with 6:09 left in the third, a crucial triple from Maupin gave her side its first lead since the 4:24 mark of the first period.
Tech’s lead grew to 51-48 with 3:41 to play and stood at the same margin (three) 30 ticks later, but the veteran Buffs closed with nine of the final 16 to enjoy a 62-58 lead after 30 minutes.
The third quarter featured 45 combined points, 24 of which came from the home side.
In the fourth, Colorado answered a pair of Lana Wenger free throw with a layup, to take a 64-60 lead with 9:19 to play.
A McKinney and-one sparked a quick 6-0 run that gave the Lady Raiders a 66-64 advantage with exactly six minutes to play.
Over the next three minutes and 13 seconds of action, the teams continued to trade haymakers, as the lead changed hands four times.
With the scored deadlocked at 73, Colorado made its move, scoring the next four and six of eight to lead by two possessions with 1:30 left in regulation.
Enter Jazmaine Lewis.
The Houston transfer continued to flash signs of what she can provide, hitting a clutch jumper with 63 seconds remaining that cut the Colorado lead in half (79-77).
After a 30-second timeout from the Buffaloes, Texas transfer Ashley Chevalier made her most important play of her brief Lady Raider career.
The California native stepped in front of Frida Formann to draw an offensive foul.
With possession of the basketball down by two, Lewis earned a trip to the line, where she calmly rebounded from a missed free throw to nail the second attempt.
Needing to extend the game, Tech fouled Jaylyn Sherrod.
The Preseason All-Pac 12 selection missed the front end of the free throws, before rattling home the second.
With her team down just two with 16 seconds to play, coach Gerlich went calmly grabbed the whiteboard and marker to draw up an offensive set to find the elusive two points.
After her mom’s timeout, Gerlich found Tatum Veitenheimer who dribbled on the baseline. Knifing through traffic, the senior found her fellow Texan, McKinney, who was shoved out of bounds by Sherrod.
Needing to hit both to tie the game at 80, the career 83.6 percent shooter nailed both attempts, to the game at 80 with 13 seconds to play.
Colorado burned its final timeout to advance the ball and try to find the game winner.
On the ensuing possession from the visitors, Scott cleanly rejected a triple from Jada Wynn to send the ballgame to an extra period.
In overtime, Colorado scored the first three points to take an 83-80 advantage with 2:54 to play.
On the ensuing Tech possession, Scott turned the ball over trying to find a cutting Gerlich.
Tayanna Jones picked off the past and darted down the floor in transition.
With the opportunity to give her side a two-possession lead for the first time in the extra session, Jones was chased down from behind by Maupin.
The 2021-22 Miss Texas Basketball section cleanly stripped Jones of the basketball.
More importantly for the Lady Raiders, Maupin found a way to redirect the ball off Jones’ left leg and out of bounds.
The turnover awarded possession back to Tech.
On the corresponding possession, McKinney nailed a jumper that cut margin to 83-82.
With the basket, McKinney recorded her 21st and 22nd points, shattering her previous career best mark of 21.
After back-to-back empty possession, Colorado had the ball up by a point with 90 seconds to play. Looking to pull ahead by at least three points, the Buffs found Miller, who missed from point blank range.
Veitenheimer corralled the rebound and pushed it ahead to Maupin, who was fouled. Looking to give her side the lead for the first time in the extra session, Maupin nailed her last of eight free throws attempts on the night to give the Lady Raiders a slim 84-83 lead with 1:10 to play.
On the most important defensive possession of the night, Lewis blocked a layup.
The loose ball somehow found the arms of Miller, who was fouled. The post-player rattled home both to give CU its final lead of the night, 85-84, with just 50 ticks to play.
Needing to answer, McKinney found Lewis, who spun off her defender and nailed a beautiful hook shot that fell to the bottom of the net. The shot from four feet away, gave the Lady Raiders an 86-85 advantage.
Lewis’ make was the fifth and final field goal she made on the night. She ended the contest with 11 points on perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the floor. She added five huge rebounds and a block in her 19 minutes and 18 seconds of action.
Following Colorado’s lone timeout of the overtime session, Lewis made yet another huge play, this time on the defensive end. The Kansas City native impeded a wide-open driving lane for Colorado’s Tameiya Sadler.
Lewis’ presence forced Sadler to miss the layup, but somehow, the ball fell back into the hands of Sadler with 15 seconds to go.
Needing a stop to secure the victory, Tech dug deep, as Lewis walled up perfectly on yet another Sadler drive. The guard missed her second layup in as many possessions with just over a second to play.
Unlike the first attempt, Lewis cleaned up the miss, securing the Lady Raiders second victory of the season and first of the WNIT.
In the end, the Lady Raiders held Colorado without a field goal for the final 3:29 of overtime and to just 1-of-7 shooting in the period.
After allowing CU to shoot 11-of-15 from the floor in the opening quarter, Tech allowed just 16 field goals in the final 35 minutes, as the Buffs shot a much more manageable 16-of-42 (38.1 percent) over that span.
COACH SPEAK (HC KRISTA GERLICH):
“I am so proud of these kids. I told them before the game that people can say a lot things about us, but they’re not going to tell us we are not tough enough. That is one of my biggest pet peeves as a coach. Our team puts it all on the line, and they showed their toughness tonight. I also want to thank the fans who came out and ask them to continue come and believe in these girls, because they fight every day. The people outside of our program do not know, the adversity we go through. There are 14 young ladies on our squad, and a lot of things happen. I am so proud of all of them for overcoming adversity tonight and figuring it out. Even after last night’s loss, which was clearly a disappointment for us, these kids woke up this morning and came to shoot around with a great focus and determination. They focused on our game plan and executed it well. We worked on a defense for about 20 minutes that we had not run before. It was the difference in the second half. I am just really proud of them and how hard they executed and how hard they played. This is a freshman [Maupin], and this one a sophomore [McKinney] up here tonight, which is pretty good for our future.”
On the resolve of her team:
“With such a short turnaround and the offense that Colorado runs, I thought it was incredibly difficult to prepare for them and simulate their style in practice. As a result, it takes you a while to adjust. In the first quarter, I didn’t think our kids were playing poorly or weren’t playing hard, I just felt like we needed to get used to their offense. With Kat’s [Ferrell] injury our lineups are a little bit inconsistent and we’re trying to work on matchups. So it’s taking us a minute to find the right lineup and matchups. But I thought our kids settled down and we didn’t panic. I never saw us panic or duck our heads tonight. We kept fighting, attacking and finding a way to get easy buckets. Defensively we needed to settle in and get some stops.”
On beating a veteran Colorado team that made the NCAA Tournament last season:
“Tonight is a step toward us reaching our goal of making the NCAA Tournament. We want to play in the post season. Playing against a quality opponent like Colorado is one of the reasons why agreed to play in this tournament, because we knew it would feature three really good teams. To get Colorado to come to Lubbock was great as well. We just need those opportunities to play against people that have played where we want to play. For us to have success against them, will help us down the line. Particularly, in the Big 12. We are going to be in some really tough ball games with some really big teams. Colorado is a big basketball team. They have a lot of really nice pieces and they do a great job with them. They are going to win a lot of basketball games. So, I am really proud of the tenacity that we played with and the toughness. That is a big win for us.”
On bouncing back from last night’s loss:
“All of us just kept thinking the loss yesterday, it hurt pretty bad and we were all disappointed in ourselves. So going into this game we got off to a slow start; however, we never gave up. This team is just super confident in each other. It doesn’t matter who is on the floor, we are ready for anybody to score or to get stops. Whatever we need to do to win. We were so focused tonight and locked in from the very beginning. We never felt like we were going to lose the game.”
On staying calm during pressure moments:
“At the end of the day, it’s just basketball. All of us have been playing basketball since we were very young. At the end of the game, I wasn’t even looking at the scoreboard. We practice free throws every day. So it was just a matter of stepping up to the line and finding a way to knock to down. Jazz [Lewis] went up there and had a huge rebound that put us in a position to get to overtime. It’s just a matter of us going up there and doing our job.”
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE:
• The Lady Raiders depth was on full display once again Wednesday, as the bench managed to add 36 points. Tech outscored Colorado’s bench 36-15.
• After managing just five games with at least 10 points at Houston, Lewis has now reached double figures twice as a Lady Raider.
• The Lady Raiders as a team were an astounding 36-of-41 from the line tonight. The 34 made free throws tie the school record set back in 2010 against Houston.
• Seven different Lady Raiders attempted a free throw tonight.
• Both Gerlich and Maupin were a perfect 8-of-8 from the stripe.
• Tech’s starters were 24-of-27 from the line this evening.
• The Lady Raiders led for just four minutes and two seconds tonight.
• Gerlich and Maupin were just two consecutive makes shy of tying the program record for consecutive makes in a game without a miss.
• Gerlich’s eight made free throws are a new career high.
• McKinney continues to shine in her second year at Tech. The SMU transfer is averaging 18 points per game and has made 22-of-35 from the floor.
• The guard is shooting 7-of-14 from behind the arc as well.
• Known for her ability to score, Maupin has increased her output in all three games during her true freshman season. Her 20 point performance brought her season total to 14.3.
• After shooting just 35-of-73 from the line in her career before transferring to Tech, Lewis is now 7-of-10 from the line.
• The center is also 13-of-17 from the field after shooting 5-of-5 tonight.
• Scott played in a her first game since Feb. 9 against Texas. She missed the final eight games of the 2021-22 season.
• Gerlich improves to 11-2 all-time in November as the head coach of the Lady Raiders.
The Lady Raiders hit the road for the first time in 2022-23 on Sunday, when they travel to Lafayette to take on Louisiana. Tip-off from the CAJUN Dome is set for 4 p.m. Fans can watch the game on ESPN+ or listen to the game on the Texas Tech Sports Network.
Release provided by Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics