LUBBOCK, Texas – Despite a strong 21-point performance from sophomore Rhyle McKinney, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders fell 69-63 to Jackson State in the opening game of the Preseason WNIT Tournament Tuesday night at United Supermarkets Arena.
McKinney’s 21-point output tied her career-high set nearly one year ago against Weber State (Nov. 16, 2021).
The difference in the contest was a fourth quarter 11-4 run by the visitors that stretched a 51-49 Texas Tech (1-1) deficit with 9:28 to play to 62-53 with 3:28 to play.
Other strong performances for Tech included 12 points and five rebounds from freshman Bailey Maupin and seven points and five rebounds from Ella Tofaeono. Maupin has now reached double figures in both games of her Lady Raider career.
Jackson State (1-2) placed three in double figures, as Rutgers transfer Liz Martino dropped 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from distance.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Lady Raiders used a quick 9-0 run to open a 15-10 lead with 3:50 to play in the opening quarter. The run was highlighted by a three-point play from Tofaeono, but JSU quickly answered with 5-0 spurt to tie the contest at 15-15 with 3:34 to play in the opening quarter.
After the two teams traded buckets, a Maupin jumper gave the Lady Raiders a 19-17 lead with 57 seconds to play, but JSU used a Miya Crump free throw to cut the Tech lead to 19-18 after a quarter to play.
The Lady Raiders scored the first nine points of the second period to open a game-high 28-18 lead with 6:03 to play, but the Lady Tigers answered the Tech run with a clutch 13-1 outburst over the next four minutes of action to regain the lead with 66 tickets to play.
Jazmaine Lewis quickly answered with a pair of free throws and a second-chance layup to Tech a 33-31 advantage after 20 minutes.
The four points from Lewis broke a nearly five-minute scoreless stretch.
Following the break, Tech opened the half with six of the first 10 points, to build a 39-35 lead with 6:24 to play.
As they did all night, Jackson State answered, using a 3-pointer from Martino to jumpstart a 9-1 run that gave the visitors a 44-41 lead with 2:24 to play.
McKinney quickly answered with a triple to tie the game at 44-all, but JSU scored the final three points to take a 47-44 lead into the fourth.
In the fourth, JSU scored nine of the first 11 point to take a 56-49 advantage with 7:19 to play.
A Maupin fast break layup brought the Lady Raiders to within 58-53, but a quick 7-2 run by guard Daja Woodard put the Tigers ahead by 10 with just 72 seconds to play.
The Lady Raiders got back to-back triples from Tatum Veitenheimer and McKinney to draw to within 69-63 with 23 seconds remaining but were unable to draw any closer.
In the other Preseason WNIT game that took place on Tuesday, Colorado rolled past Louisiana, 73-43.
The Lady Buffs and Lady Raiders play tomorrow at 7 p.m. while JSU will take on Louisiana at 4:30 p.m.
COACH SPEAK (HC KRISTA GERLICH):
“Clearly that was a disappointing loss for us. We had some moments tonight where we played really well. At times, we defended well, followed our game plan and executed well offensively. Then there were moments when we had too many dry spells. Where we had back-to-back turnovers, or empty possessions. And then, we couldn’t get stops where we needed them. I thought we had some young kids playing some big minutes that are going to help us down the road. We had to make some adjustments this week, with injuries, but I know these kids can pull together and get it done. It’s disappointing that it didn’t happen tonight. So, we’ll have to turn around quick and prepare for a really good Colorado team.”
On the teams struggles from 3-point range:
“We shot the ball pretty well against Corpus Christi and I think we can shoot it better than we did tonight from the three-point line. We certainly didn’t knock down shots early in the first half, but we found other ways to score. Late in the second half we just couldn’t loosen it up. They started switching picks, which was fine, but when we had open looks, we just weren’t getting them to go down. As a team, we need to knock down 3-point shots and making the ones we make count”
On tomorrow’s matchup with Colorado:
“We got to get ourselves together and we have to reevaluate what we want to do offensively against Colorado. They’re a different team and they’re a completely different matchup so it will be a different strategy. But we have got to have some people knock down the ball from the perimeter. You know, you got to score to win for sure, so that’s something that we have to do a little better.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE:
• The first quarter got off to a screaming start as the two teams combined for 20 points over the first four minutes and eight seconds of game action.
• After scoring 11 points in the opener, Maupin recorded 12 points tonight.
• Tech was outscored 34-16 in the paint on Tuesday night.
• The Lady Raiders managed to grab 18 offensive rebounds on Tuesday, the most in a game since Tech had 17 against WVU last January 12.
• McKinney recorded her second career 20-point game.
• The guard made her first three shots tonight, meaning she made her first eight attempts on the season.
• After recording eight steals in the opener, Tech added another five tonight.
• Tonight was the first ever matchup between Texas Tech and JSU.
Release provided by Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics