Down 17 points with 4:40 to play in the second quarter, the Lady Raiders faced an up-hill climb.
But much like the victory over Colorado back on Nov. 16, Krista Gerlich‘s team kept swinging.
Down by 13 (34-21) at intermission, Gerlich had a simple yet pointed message for her team.
Come out the locker room ready to fight or don’t come out at all.
Message received, loud and clear.
Powered a quick jumper from Katie Ferrell, Texas Tech (17-11, 5-10 Big 12) struck first in the second half.
West Virginia (16-10, 7-8 Big 12) answered back with three quick points to take a 37-23 lead.
On the ensuing Tech possession, guard Bre’Amber Scott droved and was fouled. The guard made one of two to pull Tech back to within 13 points with 16:55 to play in the game.
After a defensive stop, reserve guard Saga Ukkonen made one of the biggest and most important shots she’s made in her two seasons, when she nailed a corner-pocket three, that brought Tech to within 37-27.
WVU scored its final points of the quarter with just over 50 seconds later, to take a 39-27 lead with 6:07 to play in the period.
Then the Lady Raiders went to work.
Over the final five minutes and 13 seconds of the quarter, Tech scored the final nine points, to pull to within 39-36 after three.
Fast-forward three minutes and 10 seconds, and the once unlikely happened. The Lady Raiders came all the way back from 17 down with 24 minutes to play to take their first lead.
Down the stretch, the two foes traded haymakers, but neither side enjoyed more than a three-point lead.
WVU enjoyed the only three-point lead of the final stretch, 49-46, with four minutes and 16 seconds left in regulation, but Tech used a clutch triple from the Big Kat, Katie Ferrell, to tie the game at 49-49 with 3:55 left.
Over the final 175 seconds the two teams traded buckets, as the game was tied at 53-all after a Scott layup.
On the ensuing WVU possession, the Mountaineers missed. Forward Jasmine Lewis got the rebound and called timeout.
With two seconds to play in regulation, Tech got it what it wanted. An open shot for a shooter. But Bryn Gerlich’s 3-pointer with two seconds to go rolled around the rim and out, sending the game into overtime.
In the extra session, Tech used a layup from Scott to draw first blood at 55-53 with 4:35 to play.
Like good teams do, West Virginia answered, using five quick points from guard JJ Quinerly to surge back in front, 58-55 with 2:19 to play.
Quinerly ended the contest with a game-high 21 points despite having four fouls. The guard picked up her fourth foul with 9:18 to play in the fourth period and never fouled out.
With 1:49 to play in the first extra session, Scott drove the lane and was fouled. The guard nailed both attempts from the line to bring Tech to within 58-57 with 1:49 left.
On the ensuing WVU possession, Quinerly was fouled by Scott. The guard missed both free throws, as Lewis corralled the rebound and was fouled. The foul by Scott was her fifth of the contest. She fouled with 13 points and seven rebounds in 40 minutes and 10 seconds of action.
In a one-point game, Lewis missed the first attempt, but calmly sunk the second shot. The clutch free throw tied the game at 58-all.
After WVU missed a jumper, Gerlich corralled the important defensive rebound and was fouled. The guard nailed both free throws giving Tech a 60-58 lead with 1:02 to play.
On the next Mountaineer possession, Quinerly missed another jumper this time with 41 seconds. Guard Ashley Chevalier, who scored a season-high six points in almost 23 minutes of action, secured the rebound and called timeout.
With a chance to close out the victory, Tech turned the ball over with 16 seconds later, opening the door for WVU to send the game into double overtime.
Six seconds later a layup by TCU transfer Tavy Diggs sent the game into double overtime.
In the second OT, WVU scored four of the first six to take a 64-62 lead with 2:30 to play.
A Gerlich layup tied with the game at 64-all with 2:06 to play, but WVU used a clutch triple from Kyah Watson and a defensive stop to take a 67-64 lead.
After Tech missed a triple on its next offensive possession, WVU corralled the rebound with 34 seconds to play.
Just 14 seconds later with her team up three, guard Madisen Smith went to the line. The fifth-year senior left the door open a crack for Tech when she missed the first attempt, before sinking the second.
Down by four points with 20 seconds to play, the situation looked dire.
But again, like they have all season, the Lady Raiders never stopped fighting.
Following the timeout, McKinney was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Shooting just her sixth, seventh and eighth free throws in Big 12 play, the SMU transfer made all three.
The clutch shots brought Tech to within 68-67 with 14 seconds left.
Rather than fouling, the Lady Raiders desperately tried to force a steal or a turnover.
With just over 10 seconds to go, Tech trapped Sarah Bates. Bates eluded the double team and set a wild pass in the direction of Quinerly. The guard was able to get a hand on the ball, before losing control.
Sensing an opportunity, Ferrell dove on the loose ball and forced a tie-up. With the possession arrow facing right toward the Lady Raider bench, Tech was awarded possession with 6.6 left.
Ferrell took the ball out of bounds on the ensuing possession and fired an overhead two hand pass in the direction of a cutting Gerlich. The ball was tipped by a pair of Mountaineers before falling to the ground on the right-block.
With 5.5 left, the ball was scooped up by McKinney, who calmly took one dribble and banked home a layup from four feet out.
The shot gave the Lady Raiders a 69-68 lead with 3.1 ticks left on the clock.
After the Mountaineers spent their final timeout, Quinerly caught the ball in the short corner and took a dribble. With just under a second to play the sophomore rose and sent a 12-foot jumper that clanged off the rim just before the buzzer sounded.
With the win, Texas Tech snapped a 12-game losing streak to West Virginia in the series and snapped a season-long four-game winning streak. The Lady Raiders also recorded win No. 17 guaranteeing the program a winning season regardless of postseason results.
Tech moves to within one-game of seventh place KU who lost to ninth place K-State Wednesday night. The Lady Raiders and Wildcats are tied for eighth, but Tech has the breaker over K-State by virtue of the season-sweep of the ‘Cats.
COACH SPEAK (HC KRISTA GERLICH):
“What resiliency our kids showed. I’m so proud of them. They deserved that, and they needed a win like that. They needed some positive things to happen for them. They’ve been fighting really hard. That was a ugly game. The first half I didn’t even recognize our team. We did not come out of the gates; I don’t know what was happening but at halftime, obviously I think we got their attention a little bit. I thought Kat really lead the charge in the third quarter to put us on her back. She really lead us that direction. Then we had so many people step up. Bre and Bryn were both coming off of some injuries and they shot the ball like they were coming off some injuries, but I loved that they had some help. Some people stepped up and really tried to be warriors for them. Saga had played some good defense for us. Ashley gave us a spark off the bench and defended well, then gave us some buckets that caught them off guard I think a little bit. She gave us some energy and then obviously Rhyle. We can’t go without talking about Rhyle. She’s got ice in her veins and she just really did a great job at the end. Just helping us get the victory. So, I’m just super proud of this team. West Virginia is a really good basketball team and they’re going to win a lot of games; they are winning a lot of games. That game tonight was big for us.”
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE:
• After playing three overtimes on Saturday, the Lady Raiders went to overtime in back-to-back games for the first time in program history.
• In fact, it’s the first time a power-five team has gone to overtime in consecutive games since 2008 when Maryland
• Led by Scott and McKinney who each scored 13 points, the Lady Raider placed four players in double-figures.
• Lewis and Ferrell each added 11 in the win.
• A transfer from Houston, Lewis was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor. The forward reached double figures for the first time since Dec. 31 against ISU.
• For the second straight game, Tech recorded 41 rebounds.
• The Lady Raiders improve to 5-1 this season when grabbing 41 boards.
• Tech outscored WVU 18-14 at the free throw line. The Lady Raiders were 18-of-25 from the line.
• The Lady Raiders won points in the paint 38-26 on Wednesday, meaning they improved to 17-2 when holding a team to 32 paint points or fewer.
• On the flip side, Tech is 0-9 when allowing 34 or more paint points.
• One of Tech’s two losses when holding a team under 32 paint points, came at WVU back on Jan. 21.
• Tech outscored WVU 32-21 in the second half, and 15-5 in the third quarter.
• The five third quarter points are the fewest in Big 12 game this season, and fewest since Tech held MVSU to five back on Dec. 27.
• Tech’s single quarter recorded for fewest points allowed is three back on Nov. 7 against Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
The Lady Raiders travel to Waco on Saturday afternoon for a 5 p.m. game against the Baylor Bears.
Release provided by Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics