Mallard steps up
Kierra Mallard’s up-and-down Big 12 Conference season ended on a positive note.
The senior forward scored 15 points to help Texas Tech beat Kansas State on Saturday.
Mallard, Tech’s leading scorer and rebounder, entered the game shooting 28 percent in Big 12 games, but she was 7 of 15 from the floor Saturday and made a 3-pointer.
Mallard’s effort has wavered during the season, but she played a hard 24 minutes off the bench before fouling out late.
Saturday’s season finale between Texas Tech and Kansas State looked as if it might go the way so many have for the Lady Raiders this season.But three standout performances by Texas Tech players to go along with a little bit of luck preserved a 64-63 victory at Bramlage Coliseum, snapping a five-game skid and spoiling K-State’s senior night.
“We needed things to fall our way and I think that happened tonight,” Tech senior Jordan Barncastle said. “We were able to hit some shots and this is exactly what we needed going into a big week with the Big 12 tournament.”
Texas Tech and Oklahoma have played two close games this season, but the outcome in both was a loss for the Lady Raiders.
The first game, Tech’s first loss of the season, was decided by only three points. Tech had a seven-point lead with five minutes to go and didn’t score another basket.
Their next meeting, played Wednesday at United Spirit Arena, was a 71-62 Oklahoma victory. Tech kept the game close most of the way, rarely trailing by more than two or three possessions until the Sooners separated themselves at the free-throw line late in the second half.
Texas Tech gave Oklahoma plenty of open looks, and the Sooners took advantage.
Oklahoma was 23 of 49 from the floor (47 percent) and was 4 of 12 from the 3-point line in the first half.
Guard Morgan Hook was left open from the perimeter throughout the game and took five 3-point shots in the first half before picking up her third foul.
Texas Tech gave an effort worthy of senior night, but the Lady Raiders could never pull ahead of Oklahoma in a 71-62 loss Wednesday at United Spirit Arena.
The loss is the fifth in a row for Tech, which fell to 17-12 overall and 5-12 in Big 12 Conference play. The five-game losing streak is Texas Tech’s second of the season.
Texas Tech senior forward Kierra Mallard was suspended Friday for a violation of team rules and did not travel to College Station for Saturday’s game against Texas A&M.
Tech coach Kristy Curry didn’t say whether Mallard would return for a 7 p.m. tip today against Oklahoma, the Lady Raiders’ senior night.
“Just taking it one day at a time,” Curry said Monday. “That’s all you can do.”
Mallard is expected to be honored on the court before the game with fellow senior Jordan Barncastle.
Curry described Mallard’s four years at Texas Tech as “up and down.”
Jordan Barncastle already knows her final home game at Texas Tech will be an emotional one.
The four-year forward will be honored as part of a senior day presentation before Texas Tech’s 7 p.m. tipoff today against Oklahoma at United Spirit Arena.
“It’s just something really special,” Barncastle said, “and my family will be here and that will be nice. And it will be pretty comical with some of the pictures, I’m sure. There’s lots of emotions.”
Few players throughout Tech coach Kristy Curry’s career elicit the sort of reaction Barncastle does.
COLLEGE STATION — The Texas Tech women’s basketball team dominated the all-time series against Big 12 Conference rival Texas A&M.
But the 14th-ranked Aggies had the last laugh Saturday, handing the Lady Raiders their worst loss of the season, 79-51, at Reed Arena.
A&M seniors Adaora Elonu and Tyra White led the way on senior night, collecting 14 and 13 points, respectively.