Lady Raiders advance in convincing fashion

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders (3-0) defeated the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (2-1) 68-41 to advance to the finals of the preseason WNIT. The Lady Raiders will face Rutgers on Sunday for the championship. Jia Perkins led all scorers with 22 points. Lindsay Taylor scored 12 points for the Gauchos in a losing effort.

The game started very slowly for both offenses, thanks in part to the physical defense being played by both teams. Texas Tech had the first big run of the game, scoring 10 straight points to take a 15-7 lead with 8:48 left in the half. The Lady Raiders were able to stretch their lead to as many as 12 points, and led 32-22 at the half.

In the second half the Lady Raider defense improved on an already impressive performance by holding the Gauchos to just 4 field goals for the entire half. The smothering defense fueled several runs by Texas Tech. The Lady Raiders used a 15-0 run to extend their lead to 26 points with 8:28 left in the game. Texas Tech was able to maintain the lead for the remainder of the game, and won by a score of 68-41.

Offense

The offense showed improvements over their previous outing, managing to shoot 37.7% despite the physical defense of the Gauchos. The key according to Head Coach Marsha Sharp was patience. "We were patient enough on offense that we found good shots," said Coach Sharp. Perkins continues to be the go-to player on the floor, scoring 22 points and dishing out 4 assists in tonight's game. Natalie Ritchie had her first double digit game of the season, scoring 11 points in the game. Erin Grant did a good job distributing the ball by passing for a game high 5 assists. The only negative offensively was that the Lady Raiders made just 4 of 14 shots (18.2%) from behind the arc. Shot selection wasn't really a problem, but open shots were being missed.

Defense

The numbers tell most of the story defensively. The Gauchos made just 13 of 55 shots (23.6%, and only made 4 of 26 shots (15.4%) in the second half. These numbers would be impressive against any team, but to play that kind of defense against a top twenty program is a tremendous accomplishment. Chesley Dabbs played a good defensive game and finished the game with a career-high 5 steals. Jia Perkins showed her athleticism by getting 2 blocks in the game. The Lady Raiders seem to play much better when the opponent tries to make it a physical game, and this was no exception. The Gauchos came out swinging, and Texas Tech stepped up to the challenge. "By far the most aggressive we've been on the defensive end," said Coach Sharp. If the Lady Raiders could get this kind of defensive effort every game, they would be extremely tough to beat.


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