Texas Tech’s down to its last chance to avoid going winless in the Big 12 Conference women’s basketball race. And all the Lady Raiders have to do is win on the road against a team that beat them by 30 points in Lubbock.
Tech (6-22, 0-17) faces Oklahoma (17-13, 8-9) in a regular-season finale at 4 p.m. today at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. The Lady Raiders are counting on the belief that they’re a different team from two months ago even if the record doesn’t reflect it.
“We were in a really bad shooting slump to start conference,” Tech coach Candi Whitaker said of her team’s 68-38 loss to OU on Jan. 2. “We really struggled at the beginning of conference to hit an open shot. I thought we had a lot of really great looks against Oklahoma.
“We’re shooting it with more confidence, we’re a more confident team overall and we’ve just got to handle it.”
The Lady Raiders are coming off a 67-64 home loss Saturday against Texas, a game in which they were within 57-55 with four minutes left and within 63-62 at the two-minute mark but couldn’t get the lead late.
There were some hopeful signs for a team on an 18-game losing streak. With usual scoring leader Amber Battle shooting only 4 of 19 from the floor, the Lady Raiders got a career-high 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting from 6-foot-5 senior Haley Schneider and 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting from freshman Ivonne CookTaylor.
Schneider also had seven blocked shots.
All the Lady Raiders had to show for it, though, was the disappointment of a close loss compounded by it taking place on senior day.
Now they have to be ready for Oklahoma 48 hours later.
“It absolutely will test our toughness — our mental toughness, our emotional toughness and our physical,” Whitaker said. “But you’ve got to move on. And these kids have done that pretty well. I don’t think we’ve played as well on the road, and it’s a good challenge for us to toughen up and go play well on the road.”
In the first meeting with Oklahoma, Tech shot 23 percent, committed 20 turnovers and endured a 15-point second half. That started with the Lady Raiders’ inability to solve the Sooners’ 1-3-1 zone defense, Whitaker said.
“We just didn’t handle it,” she said. “We threw it all over the gym. We’re going to be better.
“I’m excited to see us go handle that environment and continue to grow up.”
Note: Tech announced just before midnight Sunday that the start time of today's game had been moved up by three hours from the original 7 p.m. because of winter weather conditions in the region.
Who: Texas Tech at Oklahoma
When: 4 p.m. today
Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Okla.
Records: Texas Tech 6-22, 0-17 in Big 12; Oklahoma 17-13, 8-9
Radio: 97.3 FM
Tech projected starters: Amber Battle, 5-9 Jr. (16.6 ppg); Ivonne CookTaylor, 5-8 Fr. (5.3 ppg); Shauntal Nobles, 6-3 Sr. (5.6 ppg); Minta Spears, 5-10 Fr. (8.8 ppg); Marina Lizarazu, 5-8 Fr. (5.3 ppg).
Oklahoma projected starters: Morgan Hook, 5-10 Sr. (11.2 ppg); Nicole Kornet, 6-1 So. (5.6 ppg); Nicole Griffin, 6-6 Sr. (10.6 ppg); Sharane Campbell, 5-10 Jr. (12.3 ppg); Aaryn Ellenberg, 5-7 Sr. (18.7 ppg).