The Texas Tech women’s basketball team played eight games over the winter break going 6-2 as the Lady Raiders started conference play 1-2.
The Lady Raiders began their eight-game winter break slate with a matchup against Houston Baptist University at United Supermarkets Arena on Dec. 15. Coming into the game, both teams had met twice, and Tech had won both matchups. The game began extremely tight, as there were several lead changes, and the biggest lead of the game was the Lady Raiders’ six-point advantage going into halftime. The second half was riddled with offensive dry spells, as both teams went extended stretches without scoring.
Junior guard Andrayah Adams came up big to get the Lady Raiders out of their slump, as she spurred the stagnant Texas Tech offense in the third quarter with almost half of their points. This game was predicated on runs, and the fourth quarter Lady Raiders' performance personified that to the fullest. They began the fourth period on a 5-0 run, and the momentum helped scorers like sophomore guard Chrislyn Carr get into a rhythm. Carr scored eight of the Lady Raiders’ 17 points in the final quarter. On the other end, senior forward Brittany Brewer anchored the defense with five blocks in regulation. Ultimately, the Lady Raiders defeated Houston Baptist University 59-51.
The second game of their stretch was a home game matchup against Prairie View A&M University. Before this encounter, Texas Tech has beaten Prairie View by 20 points or more in all of their meetings. The game began with a couple of inside finishes for Brewer, and in response, the Lady Panthers sent triple-teams at her. She found teammates like junior guard Sydney Goodson, who concluded the first quarter with seven of her teams’ 11 total points. The first quarter was low scoring however, their defense masked their struggling offensive output. In a short span during the second quarter, the Lady Raiders’ defense picked up so intensely to the point where Prairie View did not score for over five minutes. This defensive stand gave them a comfortable lead which they kept throughout the game.
The latter half of the second quarter got their offense back on track, as they shot 10-15 from the field to give them a 25-point advantage going into halftime. In an offense that head coach Marlene Stollings described as “versatile” and “wonderful” the Lady Raiders finished with six players in double-figure scoring. Defensively, The Lady Raiders played intensely, and they only sent Prairie View to the line one time all game. Their offense remained efficient throughout the second half and allowed them to defeat Prairie View A&M by a score of 82-48 on Dec. 17.
The next game of the Lady Raiders’ winter break was against a struggling Arkansas Pine-Bluff team on Dec. 20, who sat at the bottom of their conference with a 0-5 record. Texas Tech had won all three of their previous matchups coming into the game. The match started on a relatively careless note for Texas Tech, as they had three turnovers in less than two minutes, which the Lady Lions capitalized on to open the game on a 10-4 run. A pair of threes from Junior guard Maka Jackson and Chrislyn Carr sparked the Lady Raiders, as they proceeded to go on a 19-4 run. This run closed out the quarter, and during the span, the Lady Raiders had no turnovers and held the Lady Lions on a 2-minute scoring drought. Both teams had offensive lulls in the second quarter, but freshman guard Alexis Tucker helped the Lady Raiders’ offensive stagnancy. Tucker finished with a game-high 20 points. The third quarter was the beginning of the dominance for the Lady Raiders, as they applied a full-court press, and started to become fluid on the offensive end. In the third, they held Pine-Bluff to extensive scoring droughts. Offensively, they went on several runs, including a 14-0 run to give them one of their largest lead of the game. The Lady Lions could not overcome the deficit, and Texas Tech eventually won by a score of 81-55.
On Dec. 22, the Lady Raiders hosted Louisiana-Monroe at United Supermarkets Arena. In their last two matchups, Texas Tech had won both games by over 40 points. Louisiana-Monroe was also struggling to begin the season with a 1-5 start. Texas Tech came out of the gates with an abundance of energy, steals, deflections and blocks. Their defense resulted in the Lady Warhawks not scoring for the opening four minutes of the game. Offensively, Chrislyn Carr had all of the Lady Raiders’ field goals until halfway through the first period. They were aggressive as a team on offense, as, at the end of the first quarter, 12 of their 17 points were in the paint. They finished the first quarter with a double-digit lead. The defense of the Lady Raiders remained their strong suit, despite a scoring drought, it didn’t allow Louisiana-Monroe to capitalize. Texas Tech forced an abundance of turnovers, the Lady Warhawks finished with 12, and the Lady Raiders were taking advantage of them, as well, with 19 points off of turnovers.
The Lady Warhawks weren’t shy about their aggressive defense, either, but Texas Tech kept finding ways to get to the free-throw line because of it. They made the most of their opportunities, shooting 32-38 from the line on the night. The third quarter was historic, as senior forward Brittany Brewer gauged the first Texas Tech triple-double since 1997 with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 blocks. She made it exceedingly difficult for the Lady Warhawks to score. Texas Tech was flourishing on both ends and had a commanding 37-point lead in the final quarter. Their head coach, Marlene Stollings, credited her team “Getting more active on the defensive end” as the defense played a huge role in their game. The Lady Raiders finished with an 83-38 victory, sealing off their 10th win in a row.
After a week-long rest, Texas Tech women’s basketball returned to the United Supermarkets Arena to face off against the University of Texas at San Antonio on Dec. 29. These two teams had matched up three times before, and the Lady Raiders comfortably won all contests. The game began quite even, and lead changes were abundant. Sydney Goodson then sparked the Lady Raiders’ with an open court steal, which propelled a 7-0 Texas Tech run. The Lady Raider defense was once again aggressive, forcing 24 turnovers on the night. Offensively, they were finding good shots, as they had only missed four shots on 12 chances. Their fluidity on both ends gave them a large 18 point lead after the first period.
Texas Tech capitalized on their turnovers, as they finished with 36 of their points converted off of them. The combined efforts on both ends allowed for the Lady Roadrunners to essentially not be able to come within striking distance of the Lady Raiders all evening, as they couldn’t stop an extremely efficient Texas Tech offense. The Lady Raiders finished the game shooting over 60 percent from the field, and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Their offense was led by junior guard Lexi Gordon, who had a season and career-high 31 points on the evening. The Lady Raiders broke the century mark for the first time on their season, with a 115-58 victory over UTSA.
The last game of the Lady Raider homestand and the first of the conference play was against Iowa State on Jan. 3rd. Last season, Texas Tech was 0-3 against Iowa State. The Lady Cyclones' high-powered offense was centered around the nation's leading scorer, Ashely Joens. Coming out of the gates, the Lady Cyclones started They shot 7-7 from the field, and 5-5 from deep to begin the match. The Lady Raider offense wasn’t as perfect, but they were able to remain in striking distance after a superb Lady Cyclone run. Led by Chrislyn Carr and Lexi Gordon, Texas Tech capitalized on the few fast-break opportunities they got. Iowa State continued their impressive shooting, as they didn’t miss a shot until halfway through the first period and shot 8-10 from the three-point line to finish the quarter; however, the Lady Raiders were still within 12-points.
A charge by Gordon to begin the second quarter sparked a 2-minute Iowa State scoring drought, which Texas Tech desperately needed. An 8-0 run on the other end allowed them to get within single digits. Brewer took it upon herself to lead the offensive charge, making six field goals in the second quarter, and leading Texas Tech on a 27-10 run which cut the Lady Cyclone lead to just two points going into halftime.
The beginning of the third quarter haunted the Lady Raiders, as they went on a three-minute scoring drought, and the Lady Cyclones reignited their first-quarter efficiency. Iowa State outscored their second-quarter totals only halfway through the third quarter. This led to a 19 point Lady Cyclone advantage and led to a 31 point quarter for them. Conversely, Texas Tech just scored 4 points all quarter long and trailed 78-49 going into the final quarter of play. Despite Brewer finishing with 20 points, the Lady Raiders could not overcome the deficit and lost their first conference game 96-66 to Iowa State.
In their first away game after a long homestand, the Lady Raiders traveled to Fort Worth to face TCU in their second conference game on Jan. 8th. During the 2018 season, Texas Tech lost both matchups against TCU. After over a minute of gameplay left both teams scoreless, junior guard Jo’Nah Johnson started Texas Tech scoring with a deep three-pointer. Both teams were defensively locked in and held each other to suboptimal shooting percentages early. Brittany Brewer contributed some early points for the Lady Raiders but was riddled with foul trouble throughout the whole game, limiting her playing time. Lexi Gordon and Chrislyn Carr picked up the slack, as they led an 8-0 Texas Tech to run to cap off a two-point lead finishing the first quarter.
The second quarter began well for the Lady Raiders, as their aggressiveness ramped up, and they looked to finish inside more, rather than to settle for three-pointers. Their offensive efficiency led to a 14 point lead nearing halftime. Defensively, they were getting out and contesting the Lady Horned Frogs’ shooters, which led to a below-average 25 percent shooting performance for TCU. Texas Tech also dominated on the board, out-rebounding TCU, this effort was led by Lexi Gordon, who finished the game with 15 rebounds. TCU applied some full-court pressure, and Texas Tech seemed a bit panicked. A short run by TCU allowed them to chip away at the lead, this was followed by even more offensive struggles for the Lady Raiders, who allowed TCU to come back and tie the game in the third quarter. The Lady Horned Frogs’ outscored Texas Tech 20-7 in the third. Lauren Heard was the backbone of TCU’s offense, as she finished with a game-high 26-points. The game went down to the wire, but a clutch three-pointer from Chrislyn Carr and nearly perfect free throw shooting down the stretch allowed for Texas Tech to maintain their lead, and ultimately defeat TCU 80-76.
The Lady Raiders returned home on Jan. 11 to face off against Kansas State. Last season, Texas Tech was 0-2 against Kansas State. To begin this matchup, both teams came out of the gate with an abundance of energy. Trading baskets, getting steals and transition points were the focal point for both sides. Both teams were shooting poorly to begin the game, shooting low 20 percent from the field in the first period. Freshman guard Alexis Tucker provided an offensive spark for the Lady Raiders off of the bench, coming in with an immediate impact. This was another game of runs, shortly after Texas Tech went on a 6-0 run and held Kansas State to a scoring drought, the roles were reversed, and the opposite occurred. Fittingly, the first quarter ended with a tied score of 12-12. The size of Kansas State seemed to bother Texas Tech a bit, as they finished with more offensive rebounds than most Texas Tech opponents, and 16 second-chance points.
The Lady Wildcats defensively transitioned into a zone defense, forcing the Lady Raiders to shoot from deep. Contrary to usual, Texas Tech shot a relatively low percentage from beyond the arc, finishing the game 8-33 from three-point distance. Brittany Brewer took it upon herself to jumpstart the offense, as she topped a 7-0 run to give Texas Tech a 2-point lead halfway through the third quarter. Kansas State then became alive from deep, hitting a barrage of three-pointers to give them their largest lead of the game 50-41. The stale Texas Tech offense was in a two-minute scoring drought during that time, but Chrislyn Carr took the lid off the basket and sparked a 7-0 Lady Raider run to bring them back in the game. This matchup was yet another game of runs.
Entering the fourth quarter, Texas Tech entered a dry spell on both ends of the ball. They went on a two-minute scoring drought and had a series of turnovers. Kansas State converted off the turnovers, finishing the game with 24 points off of them. Lexi Gordon and Carr led the Lady Raider offensive attack to push them back into the game, and they did, which tied the game up halfway through the fourth quarter. The persistent and interior offensive ability of Kansas State hurt the Lady Raiders, as they had 40 points inside the paint. Although both teams traded baskets, another scoring drought by Texas Tech allowed Kansas State to gain a lead with a couple of minutes left in regulation. The game eventually came down to free throws, and the Lady Wildcats capitalized on their opportunities. Kansas State won the game at the free-throw line and defeated the Lady Raiders 76-72.
The Lady Raiders will play Texas at Austin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. After playing Texas, the Lady Raiders have 14 games left in the regular season. Currently, the Lady Raiders sit in eighth place in the Big 12.