Texas Tech has improved in several key areas during the first week of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
And that’s exactly what coach Kristy Curry wants to see during this postseason.
The Lady Raiders showed poise down the stretch, rebounded in the second half and stifled Tulane’s offense in a 69-55 second-round victory Sunday at United Spirit Arena.
“We did a nice job of being aggressive,” Curry said. “We didn’t wait for somebody else to make a play.”
Curry said she wants to see more communication and better leadership during the postseason, and the Lady Raiders have started to show those signs in back-to-back wins.
Instead of letting a lead slip away in the final minutes, which was a crippling issue for the Lady Raiders during the Big 12 Conference season, Tech turned a two-possession game with six minutes to go into a 12-point win.
Much like its victory against Eastern Illinois on Thursday, Tech started to show its size and aggressiveness on the glass in the second half. Both teams had 18 rebounds at halftime, but the Lady Raiders outrebounded the Green Wave 26-14 in the second half.
“They wore us down and took over on the boards,” Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said.
Texas Tech will host San Diego (24-8), an 83-75 winner Sunday against Pacific, in the third round at 7 p.m. Thursday at United Spirit Arena. The game will match Tech’s deepest postseason run in Curry's six seasons.
Jordan Barncastle scored a season-high 21 points to lead Tech, one of three players in double figures. Casey Morris added 12 points and Kelsi Baker 10 — her first double-digit output since scoring 12 against Baylor on Jan. 18.
Olivia Grayson, a first-team all-Conference USA honoree and Tulane’s leading scorer, was held to six points on 2 of 15 shooting.
Center Brett Benzio, Tulane’s second-leading scorer and a second-team all-Conference USA honoreee, scored four points and took only three shots.
“When you look at Grayson, she’s shot nearly 150 shots more than anybody else on the team,” Curry said, “so we wanted to limit her touches and make things difficult. We did a great job of being aggressive against Benzio.”
Conference USA freshman of the year Danielle Blagg scored only seven points on 2 of 12 shooting. The Green Wave, a 40 percent shooting team, shot 31.7 percent (19 of 60).
The only player to give Tech trouble was undersized freshman forward Adesuwa Ebomwonyi, who scored a career-high 19 points. She accounted for 16 of Tulane’s 28 points in the paint.
“I thought at times in both games we had a chance to go one way or another,” Curry said, “and I thought the kids really stuck together and communicated well. The poise that we are showing at times is really an improvement.”
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