Sputtering Lady Raiders Succumb to TCU

The Lady Raiders fall to 0-2 in Big 12 play after losing 65-54 to TCU on Sunday at United Spirit Arena.

Coming off one of the worst offensive performances in program history, a 38-point output against Oklahoma, the Lady Raiders would surely bounce back at home against an average TCU team. And yet, for at least one half, it appeared as though Texas Tech might plumb even deeper depths than those explored against the Sooners.

After one half of play, the Lady Raiders had scored all of 15 points. They hit just five field goals and one three-pointer. Of Tech's 15 points, only nine came in half-court sets, the other six were the result of turnovers. And speaking of turnovers, the dozen Tech committed in the first half were only three short of Tech's point total. The assist/turnover ratio was 1/3.

As bad as those numbers are, they belie the fact the Lady Raiders got off to a reasonably good start. Thus, following a pair of Ivonne Cook-Taylor free throws at the 9:30 mark of the first half, Tech led 15-12. The Lady Raiders were on pace to score around 30 points in the opening stanza.

But at this point sand went into the Tech gas tank. The Lady Raiders didn't score again for the remainder of the half, going 0-for-13 from the field in that stretch and committing seven turnovers. Meanwhile, TCU put up 18 points to take a 15-point lead into intermission, essentially putting the frigid Lady Raiders on ice.

An Amber Battle free throw nine seconds into the second half broke Tech's nearly ten-minute scoring drought, and a Cook-Taylor trey with 18:48 remaining gave Tech its first field goal since a Shantal Nobles jumper with 11:51 left in the first half. The Lady Raiders had gone an astonishing 13:03, almost one third of the game, between field goals.

Given Tech's profound offensive ineptitude, one really didn't think the Lady Raiders had a run in them, but they did. Alas, it was far too little and much too late.

Tech's traps and presses had actually disrupted TCU at times, but Lady Raider coach Candi Whitaker had only applied them sporadically. But with less than three and a half minutes remaining, and the Horned Frogs holding a 55-38 lead, Tech finally went into sustained traps and pressures. The results were very good.

Following three straight TCU turnovers, and two baskets by Amber Battle and another by Marina Lizarazu, the Lady Raiders had cut a 17-point deficit to 10 with 2:23 still to play.

A Jasmine Caston trey with 2:02 to play brought Tech to within nine points, but that was as close as the Lady Raiders would get as TCU legged out the 65-54 road win.

Amber Battle, who scored 23 points, 20 in the second half, was Tech's lone star. She also chipped in eight rebounds. Ivonne Cook-Taylor contributed 12 points and nine rebounds to the losing cause.

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