Texas Tech coach Candi Whitaker was pleased with the determination her team showed down the stretch Sunday. Unfortunately, the Lady Raiders were too far behind for it too make a difference.
Tech finished the game on a 16-10 run against TCU, but a double-digit halftime deficit was too much to overcome as the Horned Frogs left United Spirit Arena with a 65-54 victory.
“I’m proud that we chose to fight,” Whitaker said. “You can choose to fold, and I didn’t think our team did that. Definitely didn’t play as hard and as physical as we needed to for 40 minutes.”
Junior guard Amber Battle finished with a game-high 23 points followed by freshman Ivonne CookTaylor with her first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a career high 32 minutes.
“It all started in practice,” CookTaylor said. “I was just working harder and that carried over into the game.”
Zahna Medley led TCU (10-4, 1-1 in the Big 12) with 22 points, followed by Latricia Lovings with 12.
TCU trailed 15-12, then finished the first half on an 18-0 run during which Medley scored seven points.
Tech (6-7, 0-2) struggled offensively in the latter part of the first half. The Lady Raiders’ last field goal of the half came at the 11:51 mark and their last points came on two free throws from CookTaylor with 9:30 left.
“We just didn’t have enough energy in the first half at all,” junior guard Amber Battle said. “We just didn’t have that fight at all.”
During that scoreless stretch for the Lady Raiders, they missed 12 shots and turned the ball over seven times.
Most of those turnovers came from the TCU defense eying the ball like a cornerback as the Tech players weren’t using pass fakes to keep the defense off balance.
“I definitely don’t think we use enough pass fakes,” Whitaker said. “We talk a lot about using pass fakes, but for whatever reason it’s not in our guards’ repetoire. Yet.”
The turnover bug continued to plague the Lady Raiders, who fell behind by as much as 46-26. However, they were able to flip the switch and pressure the Horned Frogs late in the game.
Tech went to a half-court trap defense, forcing TCU out of its rhythm.
The Lady Raiders forced three turnovers on consecutive possessions, scoring layups in transition. They got back within 57-48 on a 3-point goal from Jasmine Caston with 2:02 left.
“Just trying anything,” Whitaker said. “Thought we might as well fly around a little bit and turn up the heat. I thought that might help us get going.
“We started the second half in full-court man just to try to get us going a little bit. (It) forces you to play with a little more energy. I thought we did a good job of sporadically trapping and going after loose balls.”
The Lady Raiders now hit the road for back-to-back games Wednesday at Iowa State and Saturday at Kansas.