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Lady Raiders push West Virginia to end, still come out on losing side, 70-51

West Virginia won for the 16th time in its last 17 games

Posted: January 22, 2014 - 10:20pm  |  Updated: January 23, 2014 - 1:34am
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Texas Tech's Haley Schneider is defended by West Virginia's Averee Fields and Asya Bussie  during their game on Wednesday in Lubbock. (Stephen Spillman/AJ Media)  Stephen Spillman/AJ Media
Stephen Spillman/AJ Media
Texas Tech's Haley Schneider is defended by West Virginia's Averee Fields and Asya Bussie during their game on Wednesday in Lubbock. (Stephen Spillman/AJ Media)
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Texas Tech has posed little threat to ranked opponents this season. Maybe it’s a sign of progress for the Lady Raiders that West Virginia at least had to work hard nearly the entire game to come away with a victory.

The 18th-ranked Mountaineers beat Tech 70-51 Wednesday night at United Spirit Arena, making shots at several key junctures to blunt Lady Raiders momentum.

West Virginia (17-2, 6-1 in the Big 12) won for the 16th time in its last 17 games. Tech (6-12, 0-7) has lost a program-record eight straight.

During the losing streak, the Lady Raiders have fallen to ranked Big 12 teams by 30, 24 and 26 points. West Virginia, on the other hand, needed an 8-0 run that started with 3:52 left in the game to assure its fifth victory in a row.

“I’m proud of how we fought,” Tech coach Candi Whitaker said. “I definitely thought the game felt closer and was closer than the score. I thought we guarded well at times and didn’t turn it over against a pressure team, so (there were) some positives.”

Until West Virginia’s late surge, the Lady Raiders were within striking distance for much of the second half. They could have used an upset, being in the middle of a four-game stretch against ranked teams.

“When you’re in the situation we’re in, the difficult thing is to keep fighting,” Whitaker said. “There’s no question they are, and I think we got better today. We got better this week.

“I think we guarded well. West Virginia has great athletes, very good players, multiple scorers on the floor, and I thought we guarded them pretty well — probably as well as we can at this point.”

West Virginia got 19 points from center Asya Bussie and 17 from shooting guard Taylor Palmer. The Mountaineers made 7 of 18 3-point field goals, most coming when the Lady Raiders were making a push.

“It seems like we’ve done that all year,” said WVU coach Mike Carey, whose team remained tied with No. 8 Oklahoma State for first place in the Big 12. “We may be shooting terrible, and all of a sudden the score gets close and somebody will make a big 3.”

Tech closed within seven twice midway through the second half — at 47-40 with a Minta Spears 3 and at 49-42 when Amber Battle came up with a steal, drove end to end and converted a contested, twisting layup.

That came with 9:55 to go and enlivened the crowd of 3,757. The Lady Raiders hung close but couldn’t reduce the deficit any further, and then West Virginia stretched a 59-49 lead to 67-49 late.

“They play extremely hard,” Carey said of the Lady Raiders. “She (Whitaker) has them playing extremely hard. They attack off the dribble and break you down defensively, so they did a good job, too.”

Palmer finished 4 of 7 from 3-point range, and Bria Holmes added a pair of 3s. Long-range shooting aside, Carey said the indispensable weapon was Bussie, a 6-foot-4 center who got to the line and made 11 of 13 free throws.

“She is a big part of their offense,” Tech’s Audrisa Harrison said, “so coming in we knew we had to have a good defensive scheme against her. The guards were just hitting tonight.”

The Lady Raiders would have had a better chance if not for a slow start and a nearly nine-minute scoreless stretch in the first half.

Tech managed to stay within 34-24 at halftime despite making only four first-half field goals. The Lady Raiders were down 19-6 after starting 2 for 13. Up 7-6, West Virginia went on a 12-0 run during which the Lady Raiders went scoreless for more than 81/2 minutes.

At that point, the Lady Raiders mustered a 9-2 burst in which Battle scored seven points. Her free throw with 7:26 left ended the long scoring drought, and she made it 21-15 by nailing a 3 as the shot clock sounded with 4:12 left until halftime.

That 3 and another by Jasmine Caston that made it 23-18 enlivened the crowd of 3,757. The Mountaineers reasserted themselves by making three 3s in the final 2:18 before the break.

All three — two by Palmer, the other from Brooke Hampton — came from nearly the same spot left of the key.

Battle led the Lady Raiders with 19 points. No one else reached double figures, and the Lady Raiders shot only four free throws in the second half.

“You’ve got to find multiple scorers,” Whitaker said. “We’re still searching for number two. We’ve got to get someone else in double digits. For us also, we need to get to the free-throw line. We’ve got to get to the free-throw line way more than four times in a half.”

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so what

"We fought, the game felt closer than it was, they went on an 8-0 run, blah, blah, blah". They still got beat 19 points. You can't buy a Hershey Bar with moral victories. As Obama would say, blame it on Curry, who blamed it on Marsha Sharp, who oops, didn't blame it on anyone.



Not much push.


What the...

What did the game feel like? Really wasn't that close? I know..wait for years for better recruits. Marsha where are you???


No excuses

Whitaker was a no name hire that the administration grasped at thinking that she could piggy-back off of the great excitement that hiring Kliff Kingsbury brought. Maybe the cupboard was bare, but she had no where the credentials that Kingsbury had either as a player or coach. What is disturbing is that we are not seeing much improvement. Whether the kids are young or not, the team should be improving. Allegedly, she was a good hire because she could recruit--so we had better see some dang good recruiting pronto. This program does not have another 3-5 years to wait. We watched Sharpe run it into the ground before she left, then five years of Curry's promises, and in the interim period we have watched one of the most successful women's basketball programs in the nation going from being always relevant to an after-thought. This administration should be mortified that it allowed one of its most proud programs--and the ONLY one to win a national championship among its major sports programs--to become a joke, a bottom-dweller in its conference. Ten years ago we fought to get tickets to Baylor, UT games when the Lady Raiders played. Now we can barely give them away.


Most of what they said is correct, but ...

... none of it is true. I want all of our teams to win big, but it does take talented players. I told you before the crusty one left, that this was going to be a 4-14 team. Subtract Baker, and you get 0-18. This curry recruited team will be lucky to get 1 win against another sub-par team. That is not coach Whitakers fault. And Candace is not using currys inability as an excuse. People like myself use it as a reason (fact) to ask the immature to have compassion and patience in the face of adversity. Krusty had 7 full seasons to create this mess.

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