OKLAHOMA CITY — Texas Tech started strong against seventh-seed TCU on Friday, but couldn’t carry that first-half success over into the second.
Junior Amber Battle led the way with 23 points while freshman Ivonne CookTaylor scored a career-high 18 in Tech’s 75-59 loss to the Horned Frogs in the Big 12 Conference tournament.
“Man, they just, I thought, left it all out there,” Tech coach Candi Whitaker said. “Amber played 40 minutes and Ivonne played 39. They were exhausted, but I thought they played extremely hard on both ends. I thought they played every possession.
“Ivonne stepped up and shot the ball extremely well and made big shots for us. Amber made big plays for us like she has all year. Really proud of both of them and how they’ve developed over the year and how they’ve come along.”
Tech (6-24) finished the season on a school-record 20-game losing streak. TCU (19-13) advances to face second-seeded West Virginia at 6 p.m. Saturday in the quarterfinals.
In the first half, the Lady Raiders didn’t take a shot they didn’t like, much less make.
Texas Tech exposed the gaps in TCU’s 2-3 zone defense and took a 34-33 halftime lead while shooting nearly 54 percent.
Battle finished with more points in the first half, 15, than in two of the last three games combined.
CookTaylor also made herself at home in the left short corner and went to work for nine first-half points.
The Lady Raiders outrebounded TCU 19-13 in the first half.
“I think just being active and calling out screens early and communicating with each other,” Battle said. “I think that really helped us. Following our scouting report and really knowing their plays and executing our defenses.
In the second half, Tech’s hot shooting cooled down and poor decisions of old returned.
The Lady Raiders didn’t net a field goal for 6:15 and the Horned Frogs capitalized with a 14-0 run.
“We did a nice job of battling and being in the ball game,” Whitaker said. “We had a big span in the second half where we couldn’t rebound it, get loose balls, get a stop and score on the other end. TCU went on a big run and it was hard to recover after that.”
Zahna Medley and Natalie Ventress led TCU with 18 points each followed by Chelsea Prince and Latricia Lovings who both had 14.
TCU also switched up its defense after intermission.
“Chelsea Prince, I got back to her at the front,” TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. “We felt like they were getting us really wide, so we went with that I formation where Chelsea was at the top of it, and she was able to create some havoc up there and obviously we got into a pretty good rhythm.”
Texas Tech also lost its presence on the glass.
After outrebounding TCU in the first half, the Horned Frogs fought back in the second and won the battle on the boards 31-26.
After going winless in conference play, CookTaylor said the thought of “here we go again” flashed through her mind.
“We had our moments where we kind of like let down, which we shouldn’t,” she said. “That’s something we definitely have to work on.”
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