Lady Raiders Advance to Sweet 16

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders (28-5) advanced to their ninth Sweet 16 with a victory over the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (27-5). Jia Perkins led Texas Tech with 23 points.

Texas Tech jumped out to a quick lead at the beginning of the half thanks to a 10-0 run that gave them a 15-4 lead with 14:16 remaining.  The Lady Raiders were able to extend their lead to as much as 15 points before UCSB began to claw their way back into the game. Texas Tech led 38-30 at the half.


The Texas Tech offense could not find a rhythm early in the second half.  UCSB took advantage of the slow start by taking their first lead with 11:55 left in the game.  Both teams exchanged the lead until Texas Tech took a 63-61 lead with 4:45 left in the game.  Following a lay-up by Plenette Pierson, the Lady Raiders led by 4 with 27 seconds left on the game.  On the ensuing possession, Kristen Mann hit a 3 pointer to shrink the lead to just 1 point, with 16 seconds remaining.  Pierson was fouled on the inbounds and hit both free throws to give Texas Tech a 71-68 lead.  Jia Perkins forced a jump ball on the next possession to give the ball to Texas Tech.  Once again, Pierson was fouled on the inbounds.  Pierson hit the first free throw, giving Texas Tech a 72-68 victory.  When Plenette Pierson said, "I was just thinking I hadn't done anything tonight, maybe I'll make some free throws."




Tonight, Jia Perkins stepped up to answer the challenge issued by Coach Sharp.  Perkins got her shot to fall early, and she continued to make her shots for the rest of the game.  Perkins finished the game with a team high 23 points.  "Our guards really stepped up and faced the challenge," said Texas Tech Head Coach Marsha Sharp.  Plenette Pierson played a key role down the stretch, but she contributed for the entire game.  Pierson finished the game with 15 points and tied a career high with 5 assists.  Natalie Ritchie started the game by making her first three shots from behind the arc, but she struggled for the rest of the game.  Ritchie finished the night with 11 points.  Erin Grant scored 10 points to go with her 4 assists.  Grant showed great poise tonight in a pressure-filled environment.  It was good to see the Lady Raiders get some production from the guards tonight.  If Texas Tech could hit some 3-pointers, this offense would be unstoppable.




Despite some of the individual numbers for UCSB players, the Lady Raiders played solid defense tonight.  The Lady Raiders decided to play Lindsay Taylor straight up, and she had a big game as expected.  This decision allowed Texas Tech to limit UCSB's three-point opportunities.  The Texas Tech coaching staff continues to put together excellent game plans that allow their players to have a shot a winning every game.

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