Texas Tech’s up-and-down season reached its lowest point Tuesday.
After a 69-64 loss to a reeling Kansas team at United Spirit Arena, the Lady Raiders will likely need to win all three of their remaining games for a chance at a return trip to the NCAA tournament.
Two of Tech’s final three games will be on the road, beginning Saturday at No. 14 Texas A&M. The Lady Raiders then host and close out the season March 3 at Kansas State.
Baylor certainly seems to bring out the best in Texas Tech.
Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey said as much after her team downed the Lady Raiders 56-51 on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
“That basketball team plays like that every night, they wouldn’t be whatever they are in the league right now,” Mulkey said Saturday.
A backhanded compliment? Perhaps.
But it’s hard to escape the truth of Mulkey’s statement.
The silver lining for Texas Tech after Saturday’s 56-51 loss to top-ranked Baylor is that the Lady Raiders still have a shot at reaching the NCAA tournament.
“Hopefully, we’re going to be able to finish this thing strong,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said. “You get in the eyes of the (NCAA selection) committee, they have to take a look at your scores every once in awhile.”
Despite losing four of six games in February and each of its last six road games, Tech controls its own destiny and, with four games remaining, has enough time left to salvage the season.
Texas Tech’s 56-51 loss to Baylor on Saturday was eerily familiar.
When the two teams met in Waco last year the Lady Raiders led 29-28 at the break before shooting 27 percent in the second half and falling 64-51. Tech outrebounded Baylor in that game, 36-32.
The Lady Raiders led 35-30 at halftime Saturday and shot 22 percent in the second half. They outrebounded the Lady Bears, 38-37.
Asked why Baylor seems to bring out the best in Tech, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was stumped.
“I don’t know,” she said. “How about just call it good coaching?”
WACO — There is ample evidence that Texas Tech plays better and tougher against No. 1 Baylor than any team in the country.
The Lady Raiders once again played their hearts out Saturday, leading Baylor at halftime and outrebounding the Lady Bears from start to finish, but the end result was an all-too-familiar one.
Tech shot 22 percent in the second half, and Baylor centers Brittney Griner and Destiny Williams notched double-doubles to lead the Lady Bears to a 56-51 victory, clinching a share of the Big 12 title.
The Baylor women’s basketball team is outscoring opponents by 771 points through 26 games this season, an average margin of victory of 29.6 points.
That statistic is so singularly astounding that it might leave Texas Tech trembling as it prepares for its tipoff against the top-ranked Lady Bears at 7 p.m. Saturday inside the Ferrell Center.
Except the Lady Raiders have played Baylor closer than just about anybody during the last two seasons and are one of just three teams to beat it during that stretch.
Keying in on Barncastle, Smalls
Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said her Longhorns focused much of their energy on slowing down Jordan Barncastle and Monique Smalls on Wednesday night.
Barncastle and Smalls combined for 34 points when the Lady Raiders downed the Longhorns 75-71 last month in Lubbock.
The pair only scored four points Sunday. Smalls was 0 for 8 from the floor and Barncastle was 0 for 3.
AUSTIN — Maybe there’s just something in that Austin water.
Texas Tech’s 63-54 loss to Texas on Wednesday was the sixth straight win for the Longhorns over the Lady Raiders at the Frank Erwin Center, where Tech is winless since 2006.
The Lady Raiders led the entire first half and most of the second before making one field goal and being outscored 18-5 in the final five minutes.