In their last home game of the season, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders produced their 21st win of the year and handed Oklahoma State's Cowgirls a fifth straight loss, 65-52. Fittingly, the Lady Raiders' best players were senior center Cisti Greenwalt and junior forward LaToya Davis, who scored 14 points apiece.
"It gives us a chance to go to Baylor and have a chance to share a conference championship. In the Big 12, if you ever get a chance to do that and you're playing for a league title the last night of the season, I think it talks about how hard you've played and the players that you have in your program." Lady Raiders head coach Marsha Sharp said after the win, "and the things that they've gone through up until this point, for 15 games, to give themselves a chance to do that."
Greenwalt's last home game turned into a battle between titans, as Cowgirl starter Christian Hood battled for possession, position and points in the paint. Both centers are 6'5'', but where Hood produced a razor-edged advantage in scoring, Greenwalt answered with an outstanding defensive performance. OSU shooters found Greenwalt so imposing a presence at least one turned her drive around and dribbled back out rather than challenging Tech's standout senior inside.
Nina Stone, Oklahoma State's senior point guard, missed the first shot of the game and the rebound went to Tech's center. At the other end of the court Greenwalt missed then scored Tech's first points off her own rebound with 19:26 left in the first half; OSU's freshman Destanie Sykes answered with a bucket, but Tech's Chesley Dabbs quickly canceled the tie with a pair of free throws after a Stone foul.
Hood kept OSU in the game, but Sykes fouled Greenwalt going up for her next basket; Greenwalt, who hit four of five from the charity stripe, converted the old-fashioned three-point play to give Tech a 9-6 lead. That lead lasted, and extended, courtesy of Erin Grant's free throws and freshman Darrice Griffin's shot block, until OSU freshman Taleesha Conder sent the Cowgirls ahead by one with just over six minutes left, 22-21.
OSU's advantage evaporated under Greenwalt's jump shot; Grant's drive augmented Tech's lead, as did freshman Judith Smith's long-range two-pointer. Alesha Robertson and Dabbs contributed successful free throws to Tech's 7-0 run over the next three minutes. Hood and teammate Catherria Turner scored the rest of OSU's first-half points, but they couldn't match Robertson and Grant's output. Tech led at the half 35-26.
The Cowgirls started the second half aggressively – but so did Tech. Hood's miscue gave Tech back the ball Sykes had swiped, and Davis converted. Almost four minutes elapsed in an exchange of turnovers and misfires before Greenwalt scored again, giving Tech a 39-26 lead; for the rest of the game the Lady Raiders led by at least four points.
Tech lost the rebounding battle, 31-40; the Lady Raiders suffered 13 turnovers in the game, but OSU lost the ball 16 times. Cowgirl shooters turned in a 22-for-59 field goal performance; OSU sank five of eight free throw attempts.
Lady Raiders Davis, Greenwalt, Dabbs and Grant finished in double-figures; Robertson ended the game with seven points, four from the charity stripe, having hit just one of seven from the floor and missed all three attempts from three-point country. Davis shot six-of-12 from the field, hitting both free throws. Greenwalt hit five of seven from the floor, four of five from the line, and collected a team-high eight rebounds to go with her four blocks and one steal.
"When you get out-rebounded, particularly in the first half the way we did, you know that you're not really focused," Sharp said. "I hope that the fact that we played on Saturday and we don't play again until Thursday will give us a little bit of a chance to rest a little bit, and that when we come back we'll get really focused on the game Thursday night.
"Hopefully, Thursday night there'll be a lot of great things happening in Waco, and we're really excited about having the chance to do that," she said.
OSU's Sykes finished the game with eight points and nine rebounds, one assist, two blocks and two steals in 36 minutes; classmate Conder scored seven points, corralled five rebounds, dished out one assist and snagged one steal in her 24 minutes' play. Hood played for 33 minutes, leading all scorers with 16 points on 8-of-19 shooting, all from the field and all from the two-point range, while amassing seven rebounds, blocking one shot, stealing the ball once and giving away five turnovers. Stone hit two of 10 field goal attempts, missing all five from three-point country; she made up for it with a perfect four from the charity stripe to go with a steal and an assist in 33 minutes. Sophomore guard Devry McDonald three points; she collared three steals, two boards and three assists.
In 26 minutes off the bench, Turner contributed eight points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal. Freshmen Karlie Howerton and Lynsie Tischhauser combined for seven minutes' play, two fouls, one rebound, and one assist. Senior center Eliz Gomes had two points, five boards, one assist, and one block in her seven-minute performance.
The Lady Raiders, victors in all but five games this year, raised their Big 12 Conference record to 12-3 to maintain a tie for second with Texas. They are 6-1 on the road in league matches, their only road loss coming at Texas; at home, they finish with a 6-2 season, losing to Kansas State and Baylor.
Tech's post players dominated the Lady Raiders' performance; Davis had seven boards and a steal in 25 minutes. Greenwalt played 37 minutes.
Darrice Griffin, Tech's freshman forward, contributed four points, three blocks, one steal, and three rebounds in 18 minutes. Classmates backup center Erin Myrick played for just over a minute, while guard Judith Smith earned four points, a rebound and one assist during her 14-minute performance. Robertson played for 27 minutes, picking off two steals and snagging four rebounds; sophomore Brooke Baughman played for two minutes and collared one board.
The Lady Raiders play Baylor Thursday night in Waco. The Lady Bears beat Colorado Saturday to maintain sole possession of the league lead with a 13-2 Big 12 Conference season record. Texas beat Oklahoma to retain a tie for second with Tech.