For the second time this season, the Texas Tech women’s basketball team went into an early double-digit deficit to Oklahoma State.
And for the second time, the Lady Raiders came roaring back.
Sparked by a 29-6 run during a 10 minute-span in the first half — and enough free throws down the stretch — Tech defeated Oklahoma State 61-53 on Wednesday night in United Spirit Arena.
“It’s always how you finish, not how you start,” said Tech coach Kristy Curry, whose team earned its fifth sweep of a Big 12 Conference opponent this season.
The victory means the Lady Raiders (21-7, 11-5 in Big 12 play) will finish no worse than fourth in the league.
Tech guard Chynna Brown scored 22 points — one shy of tying her career high — to lead the Lady Raiders’ attack on Wednesday.
The senior acknowledged some of the slow starts this season, but both she and Casey Morris hit 3-pointers to start the game-changing run.
“We’ve struggled at the beginning, starting off games right,” Brown said, “and we’ve been in the situation where one team makes their run and we make our run. We just stay together, and we will make shots and knock down shots.”
Brown, Tech’s leading scorer this season, scored 10 of Tech’s 29 points during the run. Six different Lady Raiders scored during the run.
Oklahoma State also turned the ball over eight times before it calmed down and took a 35-27 deficit into intermission,
Curry credited strong bench play from Jackie Patterson and Shauntal Nobles during the run, and also a remarkable offensive rebounding edge. Tech finished the first half with 13 offensive boards.
The first time the two teams squared off this season, Oklahoma State busted out to an 18-3 lead before the Lady Raiders went on a 29-9 run to close the half.
Tech ultimately won the first match, sending the Cowgirls to their first loss of the season.
For Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell, the result was the same but the way Tech came back was different.
He said Wednesday’s game came down to offensive rebounds and turnovers.
Tech grabbed 19 rebounds on the offensive end — three more than it did on defense — and forced 23 turnovers.
The Lady Raiders owned a 13-2 advantage on second-chance points and scored 21 points off Oklahoma State miscues, compared to 11 Cowgirl points off 11 Tech giveaways.
Littell said Tech’s comeback was aided by missed Oklahoma State shots, which the faster Tech lineup — consisting of four guards and an athletic post in Kelsi Baker much of the evening — took advantage of when running the court.
“When you’re playing a lineup with, essentially, five guards like Texas Tech is and you take a bad shot, it’s almost like a turnover because they’re out running the other way,” Littell said.
Baker added 12 points in the victory, hitting four free throws in the final minute to stave off Oklahoma State.
Casey Morris, who finished with nine, also hit a pair of free throws in the final minute.
Oklahoma State (19-8, 8-8) was led by Brittney Martin (13 points), Kendra Suttles (11) and Toni Young (10).
The Lady Raiders built a 12-point lead at one point in the second half before the Cowgirls came back in the closing minutes.
Twice Oklahoma State pulled within four, but Tech answered each time to stave off the visitors.
Tech shot just 33.9 percent in the victory (21 of 62), but made six 3-pointers and forced nearly two-dozen turnovers. Oklahoma State shot 51.1 percent from the floor (23 of 45).
“We shot a nice percentage,” Littell said, “but when they get 17 more attempts at the basket, you’re not going to get a win on the road.”
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