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Abilene Christian upsets Lady Raiders

Former Coronado stars lead way for Wildcats

Posted: December 22, 2013 - 8:08pm  |  Updated: December 23, 2013 - 2:19am
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Texas Tech guard Amber Battle had another big game Sunday. This time, it wasn’t enough.

Battle recorded her fourth double-double this season with 26 points and 11 rebounds, but she said it “doesn’t even matter” after Abilene Christian beat the Lady Raiders 58-57 in the final game of the World Vision Challenge at United Spirit Arena.

It was too little, too late as a second-half Tech surge wasn’t enough to top the Wildcats.

“It’s disappointing,” Tech coach Candi Whitaker said. “Obviously, I thought we didn’t come out playing with the energy and intensity we needed to. I still thought we had plenty of opportunities at points in the game to finish and make plays.”

Battle, who scored a career-high 28 points Saturday in a win over Florida Atlantic, was named the tournament most valuable player. Freshman guard Minta Spears added 11 points for Tech, which ended non-conference play with a 6-5 record.

Senior forward Renata Marquez drained 17 points for Abilene Christian (9-5), and Lubbock native Suzzy Dimba had her sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Freshman forward Lizzy Dimba, who starred with her sister at Coronado, had two free throws with 3.2 seconds left and a last-second steal to seal the Wildcats’ victory.

Tech, ACU and Florida Atlantic all finished the three-day, round-robin World Vision Challenge with 2-1 records.

Abilene Christian took a 30-26 lead going into the half on a 10-2 run.

Battle scored seven of the Lady Raiders’ first nine points to start the second half, helping tie the game at 35, but ACU reclaimed the lead with a 14-2 run over 5:21.

Texas Tech wasn’t finished, however, as shots started falling from downtown and sophomore forward Kellyn Schneider chipped in seven points.

“I like the way her face looked,” Whitaker said. “She looked different. She looked like she was competing, that she wanted to go and make plays. Everything was different about her because of that. When she decides she wants to go do something, she’s shown that she can go do it.”

Spears’ third 3-point goal was by far the biggest one of the afternoon, giving the Lady Raiders a 57-56 lead with 47 seconds to play.

“Minta Spears had a lot to do with that,” Whitaker said. “There was a period in a timeout that she rallied the troops and they responded and went on a run and started playing with some life and some energy but probably a minute too late.”

ACU outrebounded Texas Tech 45-30, pulling down 18 offensive boards for 10 second-chance points. The Dimba sisters, both 5-foot-11 freshmen, had 19 rebounds between them.

“We’ve got to play harder to get rebounds,” Whitaker said. “You’ve got to be physical on block-outs. You’ve got to remember to block out and then you’ve got to go pursue the basketball, and (ACU) did that, clearly, and we did not.”

The Lady Raiders missed junior Audrisa Harrison, who had averaged 12.7 rebounds in the previous three games. Harrison played only 10 minutes in the first half after hyperextending a knee in Saturday’s win against Florida Atlantic.

“Dris played 10 minutes and got zero boards, and that’s not Audrisa,” Whitaker said. “We knew she wasn’t 100 percent and was pretty shaky with her knee from last night. We just made a decision after that span because we didn’t know if she was going to be effective.”

Despite turning the ball over 17 times, Tech forced 25 Wildcat turnovers, 10 of them steals, for 24 points.

“It could be better,” Battle said. “Ten, in my opinion, is not enough, but I like to get steals.”

The Lady Raiders begin Big 12 play Jan. 2 against Oklahoma in Lubbock.

“We need to work harder every day,” Battle said. “We need to give every possession our all and we didn’t do that today.”

krista.pirtle@lubbockonline.com

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WORLD VISION CHALLENGE

at United Spirit Arena

Friday’s Results

Texas Tech 62, Jacksonville 48

Florida Atlantic 67, Abilene Christian 63

Saturday’s Results

Texas Tech 76, Florida Atlantic 63

Abilene Christian 76, Jacksonville 72

Sunday’s Results

Florida Atlantic 71, Jacksonville 62

Abilene Christian 58, Texas Tech 57

Final tournament records: Texas Tech 2-1, Abilene Christian 2-1, Florida Atlantic 2-1, Jacksonville 0-3

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Most valuable player: Amber Battle, Texas Tech

Audrisa Harrison, Texas Tech; Chenise Miller, Florida Atlantic; Alexis Mason, Abilene Christian; Suzzy Dimba, Abilene Christian; Queen Alford, Jacksonville.

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Looks like a Big 12 disappointment

Losing to ACU is not a hopeful sign for the Lady Raiders as they begin Big 12 play. TCU beat ACU 82-55 a week or so ago, and TCU is not expected to be a contender this season, also.

Julie Goodenough enjoys coaching against the Lady Raiders and former Lady Raiders. ACU beat Krista Gerlich's UTA team 79-72 (which is 1-10) at Arlington last month and now Candi Whitaker's team. I remember when Coach Sharp was in charge and Tech beat OSU by about 50 points when Goodenough was HC at OSU. A couple of weeks later the Lady Raiders went to Stillwater and got beat.

We probably all realized that it is going to take Candi several years to recruit players to allow Tech to be competitive again, so I am not being down on her and her staff; I am just being realistic about this season.

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Wow

How does that happen...I am familiar with ACU and Coach Goodenough and most of their players but WOW...On your home court against a school just making a jump up in Divisions. The old attitude "wait until new coach gets their own recruits and it will get better' is getting old. I know the reasons are multiple and it is a different time but WOW..Remember when Lady Raider basketball was the main game in town..full arenas..hostile crowds..great atmosphere..big games. Maybe Coach Whitacker can turn the corner but for now..WOW!

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same thing

New coach, new players, some old players, the 2 at 6'5" contribute little and a loss. Wonder how the Dimba sisters got away? If nothing else, they are already better rebounders, and 6 inches shorter than the 2 at 6'5". They won't be playing ACU again anytime soon for sure. Maybe they will schedule Lubbock Christian next year; probably not. Been there, done that. I understand that Tech is an odds on favorite to take the Caprock title.

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lack of talent

Let's be honest about sports at Tech. Football as well as men's and women's basketball have very little talent. Why do you think all 3 sports have new coaches. It will be at least 3 recruiting classes before much improvement is seen.Tuberville,Curry,and Pat Knight were all disasters for their programs.Patience will be key over the next 3 years.

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WOW 2

Still can't get over this loss and let it go! Just so discouraging to see how far away this program is from really being legitimate contenders. How about getting Marsh Sharp back and at least get people in the stands out of curiosity.

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Pitiful

Called "lack of desire and hustle" ... same old mess.

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meanwhile in Dixie

Kristy Curry has to be getting the last laugh (at all of her detractors who kept crying for Sharp to come back)

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