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Texas 72, Texas Tech 53: Led by a 19-0 run and 'piranhas on a roast,' UT cruises to a win

Texas point guard Kyra Lambert huddles with teammates Joanne Allen-Taylor, Shay Holle, Charli Collier and Celeste Taylor during Saturday's 72-53 win over Texas Tech. The Longhorns improved to 12-4 on the season.

Kyra Lambert knows she was blessed to play basketball on Saturday night.

She has watched from afar as basketball games and seasons have been called off across the country because of the pandemic. Duke is one of those programs that has canceled its season. Lambert, a 5-foot-9 former Duke point guard, left this offseason as a graduate transfer.

"Every single time we step on the court is a blessing,"  Lambert said. "We have to play like that and we have to look at it that way."

Fueled by "an attitude of gratitude," Lambert led the Longhorns' 19-0 run in a 72-53 win over Texas Tech at the Erwin Center. 

Texas and Texas Tech were tied four times in the opening quarter. Up 18-15 at the end of the first frame, a three-point play by Tech's Maka Jackson pulled the Lady Raiders within 21-20 with 6:11 left in the second quarter.

Then Texas (12-4, 6-3 Big 12) went on that run.

Starting with a basket by Charli Collier, Texas was responsible for the next eight scores. By the time Tech's Vivian Gray scored with 58 seconds left, Texas had built a 40-23 lead. The three biggest shots came from Lambert.

The Cibolo native sank three 3-pointers during the Longhorns' shooting spree. Two of those makes came during a sequence in which Tech never touched the ball due to an off-ball foul that was called while Lambert was shooting her first 3-pointer.

"I feel like that was our best quarter, our second quarter was our best quarter," Collier said. "It was really good having all five players playing really good defense because that fed into our offense."

Lambert finished with 11 points. She added six rebounds and five assists and had no turnovers. The performance reminded Collier of a former Longhorns standout point guard.

"It's like playing with Sug (Sutton) all over again," Collier said.

Tech attempted only two shots during Texas' 19-0 run. The Lady Raiders committed five turnovers during that span.

"That's five minutes of 40 minutes of hell," said UT coach Vic Schaefer, who compared his defense to "piranhas on a roast" at one point in his postgame press conference. "That's my vision for this team and for our program."

Texas Tech never got closer than 14 points in the second half. Texas' second-half showing came two weeks after it was doomed by a 2-for-19 shooting performance in the third quarter of a 74-66 loss in Lubbock. Still, Tech did open the third on Saturday with the first six points.

"The beginning of the third quarter was not our best," Lambert said. "We wanted to keep that momentum and energy that we had at the end of the second. We just needed to settle down. After Coach called that timeout, we regrouped and came out and handled business."

The Longhorns were led by Collier's 30 points, which was her second-best offensive effort ever. The 6-foot-5 junior also grabbed 19 rebounds. She secured her nation-leading 12th double-double with 6:26 left in the second quarter.

Sophomore guard Celeste Taylor chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds. Defensively, Texas turned Texas Tech's 19 turnovers into 23 points.

Tip-ins: Tech was led by the 12 points scored by both Gray and Jackson. ... Texas will travel to Oklahoma on Wednesday. ... Junior Audrey Warren (concussion protocol) missed her third straight game.

Contact Danny Davis at 512-445-3952. Email ddavis@statesman.com or @aasdanny.

Charli Collier blocks a shot by Maka Jackson as Kyra Lambert looks on during a game Saturday in Austin. Collier led the Longhorns with 30 points and 19 rebounds.
Kyra Lambert shoots over Bryn Gerlich during the Longhorns' win over Texas Tech on Saturday in Austin. Lambert feels blessed to be playing basketball at all after the school she transferred from, Duke, canceled its season due to COVID-19.