Wearing throwback black jerseys in front of the 1993 national champion Texas Tech women’s basketball team on Sunday, the 2013 edition of the Lady Raiders didn’t disappoint.
Led by a pair of senior guards and a tenacious defense, the Lady Raiders used the same mind-set they have had all season in a 69-62 victory against the rival Longhorns in United Spirit Arena.
Chynna Brown, who put in another solid day of work with 16 points and four steals, said there wasn’t any added pressure to win Sunday — but she was glad they could perform for the ‘93 champs.
“I feel like there was no pressure for us, we were more humble about it and just excited being able to come out playing in throwback jerseys,” said Brown, who eclipsed 1,000 career points in the victory. “It was just a great day for us.”
The 1993 team, led by Sheryl Swoopes and Krista (Kirkland) Gerlich, was honored at halftime. All 12 members of the team were at the celebration.
Tech’s win Sunday marked the 20th anniversary, to the day, of the first time the Lady Raiders won in Austin. Texas defeated Tech earlier that season in Lubbock, but Tech won 19 games in a row after that en route to the national championship.
With the shadow of the 1993 National Champions banner looming, Tech (19-7, 9-5 in Big 12 Conference play) came out with the same style it has executed all season. The Lady Raiders let their defense pave the way for the offense, kept Texas away from easy buckets inside and turned to senior guards Brown and Casey Morris (15 points) in the clutch to come away on top.
Tech scored 26 points off 24 Longhorn turnovers, only turning the ball over five times itself. At one point, the Lady Raiders went on a 22-2 run by taking the ball away from Texas and quickly feeding it up court on misses.
“There are moments during the game where you can just see that takeover mentality, and it’s the difference in the game,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said.
Kelsi Baker added 14 points and led Tech with six rebounds in the victory.
The home team took a 14-point lead and threatened to blow the doors off the arena in the first half before Texas picked up its transition game and put the ball in Chassidy Fussell’s hands.
The Longhorns scored the final five points of the first half, then went on a 11-1 run to open the second half, capped by a Fussell 3-pointer to give Texas a 38-37 lead.
Fussell led all players with 27 points Saturday, including 18 in the second half.
“We got some stops,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. “Really that‘s what it boiled down to. We got some stops on the defensive end and we were able to get a couple of buckets in transition. Again down the stretch though, their guards made tons of plays.”
Morris immediately countered the brief deficit with five straight points to give the Lady Raiders a four-point cushion.
Later in the half, when Texas inched to within 50-45, Brown hit two straight pull-up jumpers to start the final sequence. The Longhorns again clawed within five, but Tech hit 10 free throws down the stretch and Morris hit a key jumper to maintain its lead for good.
“Good teams find ways to win games with (the little things), and the kids did that today,” Curry said.
The Lady Raiders moved into a second-place tie in the Big 12 Conference with the victory, while Texas (9-15, 2-11) continued its frustrating season.
Curry isn’t looking past the next game, a noon contest next Sunday at Kansas, but the seventh-year coach feels good about where her team sits regarding the NCAA tournament.
“I think we’re in,” Curry said, “but I certainly can tell you this: That we want to win the next one and we’re going to control what we can with that.”
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