The interior defense of Texas Tech couldn’t have played any better against Iowa State on Saturday.
The Lady Raiders limited touches, forced turnovers and committed few fouls against a Cyclone front line of 6-foot-7, 6-3 and 6-2.
On the other end of the floor was a completely different story, and perhaps the biggest reason the Lady Raiders walked off their home court with a 58-54 loss.
“Just finish,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said after the loss about what her team needs to do differently, “and I think that a little bit of that may come down to me doing a better job with making sure I keep some folks a little fresher, but I thought we really struggled.”
Tech’s three tallest players that rotated into the center position — Kelsi Baker, Jackie Patterson and Shauntal Nobles — went a combined 0 for 11 from the floor.
Christine Hyde, who played primarily at the four position, went 2 for 9 from the field and couldn’t slash her way inside like she has all season. She scored the Lady Raiders’ first points in the paint nearly 14 minutes into the game.
Tech was outscored 22-8 inside.
Baker, who played lights out on defense, got to the free-throw line and went a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe. That was the best offensive production Tech got inside, as Iowa State’s man-to-man and, later, zone looks flustered Tech all night.
With the game still within reach in the final minutes, Tech got looks inside but couldn’t get anything to drop. Athletic takes from Chynna Brown and Monique Smalls inside were the only field goals the Lady Raiders had in the last 8:19 of the game as the perimeter shooting went cold, too.
With the bench largely ineffective offensively against the Cyclones — three points from a Mary Bokenkamp shot from distance was all the production Tech had — Tech’s starters were pressed into more action than expected. The Lady Raider starting five accounted for its most cumulative minutes in a single game this season on Saturday.
While Tech shot 29.8 percent (17 for 57), Iowa State shot 56.4 percent (22 for 39) to further hurt Tech’s cause.
“You know, we’re 0 for 7 with Nobles and Patterson (Saturday night),” Curry said, “and just kind of went with our first group there and we were going to live with it. The thing about it is we got some great looks. They made theirs, we missed ours. And the positive thing is we were getting good looks, and those are going to go down. We just got to get in the gym and continue to work, get shots up.”
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