STILLWATER, Okla. — Texas Tech found two ways to score Wednesday night against Oklahoma State.
Monique Smalls drove the lane and penetrated, and Chynna Brown worked off screens and buried her signature jump shot.
The Oklahoma State defense shut down everything else and helped the Cowgirls to a 53-49 victory against the Lady Raiders at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“We just couldn’t make baskets,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said. “Sometimes it goes that way.”
That’s the way it’s gone for Tech more often than not in Big 12 Conference play. The Lady Raiders (16-7, 4-7) are shooting 36 percent through 11 league games, which ranks eighth in the conference. They shot 33.3 percent Wednesday.
Brown scored a game-high 16 points on 7 of 14 shooting, and Smalls scored nine and was 3 of 6 from the floor. Combined, they accounted for more than half of Tech’s points.
Starters Jordan Barncastle, Kierra Mallard, Christine Hyde and Casey Morris scored 15 points on 20 percent shooting. Mallard, in her first start since Jan. 22 at Iowa State, scored no points on 0 of 8 shooting.
Free throws were again a killer for the Lady Raiders, who made just 10 of 21 attempts (47.6 percent).
Tech has lost three conference games by four points or less and is shooting 52 percent from the free-throw line in those games.
“Consistency is key in this league,” Barncastle said. “Two possession games are what dictate wins and losses, night in and night out. We know that’s the way it goes.”
Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said the Cowgirls (13-7, 5-6) made a focused effort to eliminate Tech’s 3-point shooters and held the Lady Raiders to 3 of 18 from the perimeter.
Barncastle and Mary Bokenkamp, two of Tech’s best 3-point shooters, scored 15 points during Tech’s 58-53 win when these two teams met in Lubbock on Jan. 4. Barncastle scored six points Wednesday and hit two 3s, while Bokenkamp had two points and was 0 of 4 from the perimeter.
“Our game plan was to try and take Barncastle and Bokenkamp out of the game,” Littell said. “They really hurt us at Texas Tech … I think that was the key to the game, taking away their 3 opportunities.”
Tech dug a deep hole in the first half with 10 turnovers and 29.6 percent (8 of 27) shooting.
The Lady Raiders had one field goal in the first nine minutes of regulation, and Oklahoma State jumped out to a 9-2 lead. The Cowgirls led by as much as 11 points but went into the break with only a 24-18 advantage.
Morris made a 3-pointer — her first basket of the night — with 16 seconds remaining in the game to bring Tech within three points of the lead. The Lady Raiders were forced to foul on the next possession, and Tiffany Bias hit both of her free throws.
Jordan Barncastle responded with another Tech 3, but Bias made two more free throws with three seconds to go to seal the win.
The game was likely Tech’s best remaining opportunity to grab a road win and improve its NCAA tournament resume. The Lady Raiders’ remaining road opponents are Texas, No. 1 Baylor, No. 15 Texas A&M and Kansas State.
Curry isn’t looking any farther ahead than Tech’s next game, though, which is at home Sunday against Iowa State.
“I realize our schedule,” Curry said. “We understand we’ve got to go sneak a couple on the road and we’re going to do everything we can to go do that, but the most important moment is the moment in front of us and that’s Iowa State at home.”
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