For a third consecutive game, Texas Tech went into the locker room with a lead. The result: another loss.
A three-minute-and-20-second stretch of scoreless basketball for the Lady Raiders to start the second half gave the Longhorns the momentum needed to battle back and clinch the 75-67 victory.
“Give Texas credit; I think you have to give them credit for being aggressive and for making plays,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said after the loss. “They were able to make some plays offensively, and we weren’t. They were more aggressive there to start the second half, and that’s hampered us lately.”
This is the third-straight Big 12 Conference loss suffered by Tech (16-4, 3-3 in Big 12 play), while Texas (14-7, 2-4) has now won its last two conference games.
Curry made a slight change to the starting lineup replacing Jordan Barncastle with Chynna Brown, which seemed to work for a portion of the game.
But in the end, freshman phenom Chassidy Fussell paced the Longhorns, scoring 16 of her 22 points in the second half. Fussell also led the Longhorns with eight boards — Texas outrebounded Tech 43-26.
Texas’ Kathleen and Kristen Nash also had productive nights as they both recorded double-digit performances scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively.
With 3:18 left in the game the Lady Raiders had cut the lead down to three points, and the game began to show glimpses of another nail biter.
But every time Tech would come close to taking the lead in the final minutes, Texas crushed hopes of a Lady Raider comeback with several crucial shots.
With 1:04 left in the game, and the shot clock running down, Fussell was double teamed at the top of the key. As the shot clock wound down to one second, Fussell took an off balanced, no look 3-pointer that banked in off the glass.
Fussell’s 3-pointer would prove to be the dagger, pitting Tech down four points, 69-65, with little time remaining.
Fussell did not stop, putting the final touches on the win going 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final 25 seconds to seal the win.
The Lady Raiders had four players in double-digits, Casey Morris with a team-high 13 points and Kierra Mallard with 12 points. Barncastle, coming off the bench, struggled from the field all night and scored just two points — both of which were from the free throw line.
“We can’t pick and choose what night we’re going to show up, and we had some kids not show up tonight” Curry said about the team’s performance. “You don’t pick and choose, if nothing else do this for somebody else, do this for your teammate.
“It was a little disappointing tonight as far as how we responded from last week I thought.”
The Lady Raiders travel to Nebraska on Saturday before getting next week off to prepare for No. 6 Texas A&M on Feb. 5.
It has been a downhill slide for the Lady Raiders since starting 3-0 in the Big 12, but Tech guard Casey Morris said the players just have to keep going and can’t get too down about the recent slump.
“I think we just need to stay together, stay positive in practice,” she said. “Know that this happens to every team, every once in a while. So we just have to stay positive, and stay strong as a team.”