Visiting Bengals Prove No Match for Lady Raiders

Idaho State's Bengals hoped to break a post-Christmas losing streak in their first visit to the United Spirit Arena Sunday despite playing without the services of seniors Christa Brossman and Monika Marekova, but Texas Tech's Lady Raiders stung the Bengals 86-52. The handily-managed triumph in the season's last non-conference game preserves the Lady Raiders' unbeaten standing at home, raising their overall record to 9-2.

The win sends the Lady Raiders into Big 12 play on a high note, according to Tech head coach Marsha Sharp, and gives them needed experience against the zone defenses they will face. "They've played zone the entire time in all the films we've seen. We were able to hit the gaps and find shots we like. We had some people who were able to come out and knock down their jumpers, Chesley Dabbs particularly."

Junior guard Chesley Dabbs collected 18 points to lead the Lady Raiders in scoring while adding one rebound and two assists. In the second half Dabbs also converted a steal into a fast-break bucket on her way to player-of-the-game honors.

"We got a lot of open shots," Dabbs said. Asked about conference play in three days, she said, "I think we're ready to go."

Four Tech players finished in double figures: LaToya Davis scored 16 along with 10 rebounds and Cisti Greenwalt scored 15 points while collaring nine boards; freshman forward Darrice Griffin contributed 11 points and seven rebounds during a 19-minute performance off the bench.

Junior point guard Erin Grant hit two of four field goal attempts, both from beyond the arc, finishing the game with six points, four rebounds, two steals and 12 assists. Sophomore Alesha Robertson had five points from the field on two-of-10 shooting; she connected on one of six from beyond the arc and pulled down seven rebounds, adding one steal in her 30-minute performance.

"I thought Erin made some great choices, particularly early in the game, and helped LaToya get off to a great start," coach Sharp said.

Grant added, "It's really huge for us for LaToya to start off that way. It's really a big advantage for us for her to run up and down the court and get some baskets."

The Lady Raiders' game plan inside worked well, with Greenwalt, Griffin and Myrick combining for 34 points and 18 rebounds. Tech outscored Idaho State 42-24 in the paint and 18 to seven in second-chance points, and pulled down 52 rebounds while allowing the Bengals to capture a total of 35. Tech's man-to-man defense rattled Idaho State all day; junior Andrea Sivakova has been averaging 10.4 points an outing but managed only three field goals against the Lady Raiders.

Tech's reserves combined for 26 points: freshman guard Judith Smith played 19 minutes, scoring six points while producing five assists and a rebound. Sophomore point guard Brooke Baughman had two steals, three rebounds, one assist and sank a free throw during 13 minutes of play. Freshman post Erin Myrick contributed eight points, hitting four field goals out of five attempts; she also had two rebounds. Redshirt freshman Tawanna Flowers played four minutes and blocked a shot. Sophomore Patrice Edwards had six rebounds and two blocks in seven minutes.

The Bengals drop to 4-8 for the season despite Molly Hays' 19-point performance. Hays led all scorers and exceeded her season average of 15 points. The six-foot-one sophomore also had nine boards, two assists and a steal. She and starting guard Camile Michaelson paced the Bengals with 40 minutes of play each; Michaelson contributed eight points, four boards, two assists, and a steal. Bengal junior center Chelsey Chambers added six points and three rebounds in 28 minutes; freshman India Soo came off the bench to play 34 minutes. Her five assists led the team; she scored one bucket and collected two rebounds. Idaho State got nine points and six rebounds from Sivakova to complete their starters' total. The Bengals' two-player bench contributed 49 minutes, earning six points and two rebounds from freshman Stevi Seitz, and one rebound, one block and a bucket from freshman center Natalie Doma.

Davis brought a league-leading field-goal accuracy percentage into the game to go with the early spark she gave the Lady Raiders. Not only did she sink Tech's first bucket in each half, but she made eight and assisted on two more of Tech's first 17 points in the game. In the second half Davis came out on fire again, making her first shot, stealing the next.

Grant, the only Lady Raider to hit all her attempts from beyond the arc, led a patient offense; Tech completed several offensive possessions in which every player on the floor touched the ball at least twice.

Tech's turnover numbers were an improvement, Sharp said. "Against the zone you're probably not going to turn it over as often as against the man, but we've been trying to emphasize making every possession a quality trip down the floor and finding a quality shot every possession."

She praised the post players' efforts. "We've been working to get Patrice Edwards a few more minutes because she's a shot blocker, and she gives us a look that's a lot like having Cisti in the game. Erin Myrick is strong enough that she can hold some of the Big 12 post players off the rim."

The Lady Raiders play Oklahoma Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The Sooners are 8-3 and bring a four-game winning streak to the USA. Their last outing was a 43-point win over Division II Henderson State.

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