The disappointment of a 30-point loss to Baylor was long gone in the faces of the Texas Tech women’s basketball team Thursday.
Less than 24 hours removed from their worst loss of the season, the Lady Raiders were practicing with renewed vigor as they ran plays to prepare for their Saturday bout with No. 23 Iowa State.
One of Tech’s biggest problems the past two seasons has been extended losing streaks. This year, the Lady Raiders have bounced back after every loss with a victory, and they hope to continue the trend this weekend.
“It’s important that we do the same thing we’ve been doing in (having) short-term memory,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said after Wednesday’s 90-60 loss to No. 1 Baylor, “and at 12:01 we let it go.”
The Lady Raiders (16-5, 6-3 in Big 12 Conference play) went on an extended losing streak each of the past two seasons. In 2010-11, Tech lost six games in a row and nearly played its way out of an NCAA tournament berth. Late wins against ranked Iowa State and Baylor helped Tech reach the postseason. The Lady Raiders never recovered from an early five-game losing streak a year ago, going on another five-game winless stretch late in the season to erase themselves from the NCAA tournament picture.
This year, however, with five seniors, Tech has found ways to bounce back after each game.
The key is to stay mature, senior guard Casey Morris said.
“Everybody has losses, everybody has wins,” Morris said Thursday. “It’s just how you handle them, and going through the next day, we’re all staying positive. And we came out hard in practice today and (we are) preparing for the next game.”
Tech has also found a way to win tight games this season, winning five of its six league games by fewer than 10 points.
Eight of the Lady Raiders’ 12 league losses last year were by single digits. Tech’s experience is paying off this season, and the senior class has acknowledged how much they’ve learned from long losing streaks in the past.
Even opposing coaches have noticed.
“They’ve been in a lot of ball games,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, who lauded Tech for adjusting to losing the size of Kierra Mallard and Jordan Barncastle from last year’s team.
Still, if Tech wants to continue its bounceback season, the Lady Raiders have to remain levelheaded after each game. Curry said her team has responded well to wins just as well as losses.
“Every day in life, winning matters and losing matters,” Curry said, “and it’s all in how you handle the wins and it’s all in how you handle the losses every single day.”
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