Lady Raiders Fall to Duke, 57-51

The season ended for the Texas Tech Lady Raiders (29-6) with a loss to the Duke Blue Devils (35-1) in the Elite 8. Duke's Alana Beard led all scorers with 28 points. Duke will face Tennessee in the Final Four.

Tonight's game was a defensive struggle from the beginning.  Texas Tech held Duke scoreless for the first five minutes of the game.  This defensive stand allowed the Lady Raiders to take an early lead, but Duke answered the challenge with a defensive stand of their own.  This struggle led to a low scoring first half.  The half ended with Duke leading 26-21.


The second half was also dominated by defenses.  Duke was able to extend their lead to as many as 8, but the Lady Raiders fought back every time.  Both teams were deadlocked heading into the final few minutes.  Erin Grant made a layup with 4:09 remaining to give Texas Tech a 50-48 lead.  Once again, Duke answered the challenge.  With 3:10 left in the game, Iciss Tillis made a three pointer to give the Blue Devils a 51-50 lead.  Plenette Pierson tied the game with a free throw, but Duke scored the last 6 points to take a 57-51 victory.




It had become evident that the Lady Raiders would only go as far as their perimeter play took them.  Tonight's game was the worst case scenario for Texas Tech.  Jia Perkins might have had her worst offensive game of the season tonight.  With Perkins not scoring, Duke was able to focus their defense on Plenette Pierson.  Pierson managed to score 17 points despite being the focal point of Duke's defense.  Erin Grant and Jolee Ayers scored 8 points a piece.




The Lady Raiders had another great defensive performance, and it was almost enough to get the victory.  Holding Duke to 57 points is an extremely impressive performance.  The Lady Raiders did a good job limiting the Blue Devils' second chance opportunities.  Alana Beard did score 28 points, but the Texas Tech defense played well enough to win if the offense had a decent night.  The problem was that the Texas Tech offense had a horrible night, costing the Lady Raiders a trip to the Final Four.  This season's Lady Raider defense should go down as one of the best in the program's history.  

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