Lady Raiders Fall to Baylor, 52-49

Having no answer for Baylor's Steffanie Blackmon and Sophia Young, Texas Tech's Lady Raiders lost a down-to-the-wire game at the United Spirit Arena Saturday night, 52-49. Tech falls to a full game behind Iowa State and a tie for second in the conference with Baylor and Kansas State.

"It came down to making plays at the end," Tech head coach Marsha Sharp said afterward. "(Chameka) Scott made one, and we didn't." Baylor's Kim Mulkey-Robertson wasn't divulging any of the secrets of her team's win because, she said, "We've got to play them again. We took some things away from them tonight, and they took some things away from us." Young led all scorers with 24 points; she also had 10 rebounds and two steals in her 36 minutes of play as the Baylor Bears overcame Tech 52-49. With the loss, the Lady Raiders drop to 16-3 for the year, 7-2 in Big 12 conference play, while Baylor improves to 17-3 overall, and 7-2 in the league. Of the 52 total points the Bears scored, 34 belonged to Young and Blackmon; the pair also combined for 21 of Baylor's 37 rebounds. Tech led early, briefly, courtesy of an Erin Grant jumper. Baylor got their first points from the charity stripe after Cisti Greenwalt fouled Young, and the Lady Raiders spent most of the night playing catch-up ball while having one of their season's poorest nights in shooting; Tech hit just 18 of 54 attempts from the floor, making four of 17 treys and nine of 14 free throws. The score remained tight, and very low, throughout the first half of the game. Tech took a one-point lead on a LaToya Davis free throw, but the second attempt went awry. A trip down the floor with a misfire at each end later, Blackmon's first bucket at the 17:51 mark gave Baylor a 4-3 lead. Tie balls and turnovers – the order of the night – ensued, but points did not. Alesha Robertson's steal ended in a tie ball just across the half-court line after what the 15,050 fans vociferously considered a foul. Young put the Bears ahead, 6-3, Tech's junior guard Chesley Dabbs missed a three-pointer, Baylor's Abiola Wabara cleared the boards -- and Dabbs stole back the ball, scoring on a lay-up to keep Tech close at 5-6 with 14:56 to play in the first half. Robertson's next miss from downrange put the rebound in Davis' hands; Scott fouled her, but Davis couldn't hit from the charity stripe either time. Erin Myrick, who had come in to relieve Greenwalt, sank the next Tech bucket at the 12:01 mark, cutting Baylor's lead to 11-7. Myrick repeated her feat at 10:52 to go; Tech trailed by a bucket, 11-9. On their next possession, Baylor converted its fourth attempt thanks to a Jordan Davis put-back. Freshman forward Darrice Griffin scored for the Lady Raiders as the clock slipped under the 10:00. Young and Dabbs traded buckets, then Davis stole the ball for the Lady Raiders but the play ended in a Tech turnover. Baylor's Emily Niemann missed, and Robertson snatched the rebound, feeding Grant for a trey to knot the score at 15 points with 5:41 left in the first half. A spectacular Baylor air ball followed all the way out of bounds; Tech's Davis and Baylor's Angela Tisdale swapped misses, then Robertson brought down another board for Tech. On the Lady Raiders' end of the floor Greenwalt missed, but the officials whistled Niemann for the foul. Tech's starting center missed the first but hit the second charity shot; Tech had its second lead of the game at 16-15. Griffin picked up her third foul to send Blackmon to the line; the Baylor center sank both free throws to put the Bears up 19-16, but Robertson drove the next possession home and the Bears pitched the ball into the stands on their next possession. With 1:05 in the half, Baylor led 19-18, and then Davis fouled Tech's point guard. Grant sank both ends of a one-and-one to send the Lady Raiders into the locker room ahead, 20-19. In the second half, Tech's defense held strong; bright spots in the offense came from freshman Judith Smith, whose crucial three-point shots and deceptive ball-handling almost overcame the tiring Bears. She couldn't do it all alone, and miscues – a travel and a foul away from the ball – spiked the Lady Raiders' comeback despite treys from Smith and Robertson. With 9:22 left in the game, the Lady Raiders' starting lineup – Davis, Greenwalt, Dabbs, and Grant had been relieved by Griffin, Myrick, Smith, and Baughman – went back into the contest. It didn't make enough of a difference: Young continued to shine, Blackmon continued to help her, and Tech continued to lack effective shooting. Baylor shot only marginally better than Tech: they hit 19 of 53 from the floor and two of eight from downrange, but were able to convert on 12 of 16 attempts from the charity stripe to seal their win. Baylor had no fast-break points, but did get five points from the bench. Tech, also shut out on the fast-break, benefited from 12 points off the bench. Baylor gave up 17 turnovers; the Lady Raiders exploited those for 15 points. Tech also lost control of the ball 17 times, but Baylor only capitalized for 13 points. Robertson twisted her ankle at the 3:11 mark; she returned with 1:40 left, but by then Baylor led 48-42. Wabara fouled out, Tech's Davis converted both free throws, and one rebound and two passes later Grant put Texas Tech right back in the game, 47-48, for the final 58.2 seconds. Dabbs fouled Niemann with 15 seconds left; the Baylor freshman hit both free throws and Grant missed from downrange. A tie ball gave the rebound to the Bears despite the crowd's protests. Scott lofted a jumper into the basket; for their final chance, Tech put the ball in Robertson's hands, but Baylor collapsed on the sophomore standout, forcing a pass to Grant, who couldn't convert ahead of the buzzer. Going into the game, the Bears were ranked No. 8/9 in the nation; the Lady Raiders were ranked twelfth. Baylor came into the game after beating Kansas State University February 2. Junior forward Davis returned to action for the Lady Raiders and spent 28 minutes on the floor in a leg brace. She contributed five points and a team-high 11 rebounds to the Lady Raider effort. Dabbs, whose defensive efforts prevented Baylor's Blackmon from enlarging on a double-double, and Robertson played 34 minutes each – Robertson missing just over a minute late in the game after twisting an ankle – and combined for 16 points. Dabbs hit four of 14 from the floor and one of two from the line; she had six rebounds, a block, and a steal. Robertson hit three of 11 from the floor and one of three beyond the arc; she had nine rebounds and a steal as well as three assists, in the best overall effort by any Lady Raider in the game. Junior Erin Grant led Tech's scorers with 11, hitting both her free throws and one of seven attempts from three-point country. She added an uncharacteristically low three assists, collected two rebounds, and hit four of 12 attempts from the floor including a clutch three to keep Tech alive with 1:09 left. Greenwalt had early foul trouble; in 26 minutes, she was able to score only five points, three of those from the charity stripe. Greenwalt had one of the least effective offensive nights of her career, collaring one rebound, one block and one steal. Griffin gave Tech 18 minutes off the bench, during which she contributed three boards, a block, and a steal to go with her two points. Led by Young, the Bears also got an impressive game from Blackmon, who collected 11 rebounds and 10 points to go with a steal and a block in 34 minutes of play. Scott added eight points for the Bears as well as two boards and a block. Chelsea Whitaker contributed three points, seven assists, and two boards in 29 minutes. Wabara scored two points and collected five boards before fouling out after 18 minutes. Niemann hit one of seven from the field and one of two from the charity stripe while picking up two boards and a steal in 23 minutes; Jordan Davis gave the Bears a bucket and two assists during 17 minutes' play, while LaToya Wyatt and Tisdale contributed five-minute performances for Baylor earning a combined three rebounds and two assists. Monique Jones played three minutes for the Bears. Tech hosts Iowa State University Tuesday night in the United Spirit Arena. The Cyclones defeated the University of Texas earlier Saturday and currently lead the Big 12 with an 8-1 record.

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