LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) It appeared as though No. 8 Texas would have an easy time collecting its 25th victory.
The Longhorns (25-2, 14-2 Big 12) scored the first seven points and looked to be in control early against a struggling Texas Tech squad. The Lady Raiders (11-16, 2-14) then went on a 16-2 run over three minutes to take a 16-9 lead with 4:19 to play in the first quarter. Then the Longhorns came charging back.
Kelsey Lang was a big part of it. She scored 12 points, including eight on a crucial second-quarter run, and Texas won 76-55 on Wednesday night.
“Needless to say, we got off to a little bit of a rough start,” said Texas coach Karen Aston. “I thought we shot the ball early, really well. And then we sort of fell asleep defensively and Texas Tech did a great job of getting out in transition and were really aggressive. We were just a little bit flat-footed. But I thought we regrouped after the first quarter.”
The regrouping started with a steal by Texas’ Celina Rodrigo, who passed the ball to a darting Brooke McCarty who knotted things up at 24 with a layup at the 5:59 mark of the second quarter. She finished with 11 points.
“I think that’s when we actually realized that we needed to play better defense,” said McCarty. “We just kind of trusted each other, trusted our help. Once she got that steal, it kind of gave us momentum that we just fed off of the rest of the game.”
The Longhorns took a 28-27 lead on a jumper by Lang before they went on a 12-1 run to close the quarter. Texas outscored the Lady Raiders 22-5 in the second period.
Lang accounted for eight points during the scoring spurt as Texas took a 38-28 lead at the break. Ariel Atkins added 13 points for Texas.
“All of the posts were running the floor really well and, so, just being able to get it into me quickly (in the post). It makes it a lot easier for me,” Lang said.
Japreece Dean scored 17 points, nine in the first quarter, for Tech.
“I just thought I had to be aggressive,” said the freshman guard. “So, aggressive means shoot when I’m open and get the opportunity. So I just stayed aggressive.”
Ivonne CookTaylor added 15 for Texas Tech.
“I thought we played well in pockets, obviously to start the game,” Texas Tech coach Candi Whitaker said. “The first quarter is probably the best we’ve played, but weren’t able to maintain it. Turned it over too many times in the second (quarter).”
Texas: The Longhorns only have two losses on the year, both to Big 12 rivals in Oklahoma and Baylor. Texas, winners of its last two games, has a chance to avenge its loss to the nationally ranked Lady Bears on Feb. 29.
Texas Tech: The Lady Raiders are looking to snap a five-game losing streak in Big 12 Conference play.
Texas Tech’s Zuri Sanders earned her first career start Wednesday. The freshman forward finished with three rebounds and three assists.
STRONG ON THE BOARDS
Despite its record, the Texas Tech women’s basketball team has shown progress in its ability to be strong on the offensive boards – averaging 14.4 offensive rebounds per game. The Lady Raiders had seven against Texas.
ROE IS OK
Texas Tech’s Jamie Roe, who had started the last six conference games, was absent from the lineup Wednesday night following an injury against Iowa State. The senior was inserted into the game under the 1 minute mark of the first quarter.
Texas hosts TCU on Saturday.
Texas Tech visits Kansas on Saturday.
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