Lady Raiders defeat Rutgers to claim WNIT title

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders (4-0) defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-1) by a score of 73-45 to become the 2003 Preseason WNIT champions. Casey Jackson led the Lady Raiders to victory, scoring 10 points and grabbing a career-high 19 rebounds in the contest. Jackson and tournament MVP Jia Perkins were named to the all-tournament team.

The game started out with great defense on both ends of the court, neither team scored from the field until Natalie Ritchie hit a jumper at the 16:48 mark. Rutgers quickly answered, and tied the game at 4 points a piece with 14:51 left in the half. The tie didn't last long as Texas Tech went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-4 lead with 12:34 left. The lead remained stable until the Lady Raiders went on another run, this time an 11-0 run to take a 33-17 with 2:34 left in the half. Rutgers closed the half with a 4-0 run to make the score 33-21 at the half.

Texas Tech continued their strong play in the second half. A 13-2 run gave the Lady Raiders a 49-29 lead with 11:57 left in the game. The Lady Raiders managed one last big run, scoring 8 unanswered points to take a 67-43 lead with just 1:44 left in the game. Texas Tech expanded their lead over the final 1:44 to make the final score 73-45.

Offense

The offense continues their improvement, this time playing well against an even tougher defense than they faced in the previous game. Jia Perkins led all scorers with 15 points, while Casey Jackson added 10 points as part of her first double-double of the season. Brooke Baughman contributed a career-high 9 points, and made 2 of 3 attempts from behind the arc. The offense looked as crisp as they have all season, but they did have some trouble with Rutgers' full court press. Texas Tech has the athletes to turn that deficiency into a real strength with some work.

Defense

This was the fourth straight game that the Lady Raiders held their opponent under 50 points. That's an impressive statistic when the quality of opponent is taken into account. Both UCSB and Rutgers are top twenty teams that will be competitive in their conferences, and will make it to the NCAA tournament. The most impressive thing about the defensive effort was the rebounding. Casey Jackson grabbed 13 of her career-high 19 rebounds on the defensive glass. As a team the Lady Raiders recovered 31 defensive rebounds to Rutgers' 14 offensive rebounds. Jackson's intensity seemed to carry over to the rest of the team. If Texas Tech can continue to rebound with that type of effort they should be able to go deep in the NCAA tournament.


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