AUSTIN — With a retooled roster their was hope across the South Plains of a return to the glory days of Texas Tech Lady Raiders basketball.
Texas showed Thursday that the Lady Raiders might not be there quite yet. The Longhorns dismantled Texas Tech 67-47 at the Frank Erwin Center in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
“It was a tough game on the road. Texas is obviously very talented, strong and big,” Texas Tech coach Candi Whitaker said. “They got us out of sync and we didn’t do a good job of executing. The thing I am most disappointed in is our execution on the offensive end and our fight defensively in the third quarter.”
Texas (7-4, 1-0 Big 12) opened the game on a 16-4 run as Tech’s leading scorer, redshirt sophomore Recee’ Caldwell, got into early foul trouble. With two minutes left in the quarter, Whitaker took the risk and put Caldwell back in the game. She responded, hitting back-to-back 3 and sparking an 8-0 run for the Lady Raiders to end the quarter.
Caldwell finished with 24 points. No other Lady Raiders scored in double digits.
“She has to have help. I thought she played well and extremely hard and like she wanted to win,” Whitaker said. “That is who she is. … We were just out of sync offensively and we have to get other people involved more. … We will go back and look at film and I know what we are going to see is unrecognizable.”
Tech (8-4, 0-1) hung with Texas for nearly all of the second quarter, trailing 20-17 after a Ivonne CookTaylor jumper. But, the Longhorns reasserted themselves late in the second with a 10-0 run over the final 4:45 of the second quarter.
“The second quarter was probably the worst quarter we have played offensively (this season),” Whitaker said. “Simple things we have been running all year and all of a sudden we were not running them correctly.”
The run was fueled by a pair of jumper from Ariel Atkins and a pair of baskets from Joyner Holmes. Tech’s five-point second quarter was its lowest since a four-point showing against West Virginia on Feb. 2 of last season.
Texas coach Karen said while it wasn’t the game plan to let Caldwell “get hers,” that her team’s defensive pressure was key to its runs in the first half.
“For our team I think the second quarter has been our nemesis and the fact that we were able to stay focused on the game plan was really big,” Aston said. “I think it was a result of the defensive effort.”
Texas, which lost all four of its games this season to top-10 teams, dominated the paint as Tech struggled not only to win off the glass, but also score in the paint. The Longhorns had not such issues, outscoring the Lady Raiders 42-8 inside, including 26 of the first 28 points down low.
“I think that is what Texas does,” Whitaker said. “They pound it inside and they are going to score in the paint. Everything they do is about getting to the rim, so that is who they are and what they do.”
Player of the Game
Kelsey Lang, Texas: The Longhorns senior post didn’t just have a double-double, she just shut down Jada Terry and Brittany Brewer inside. The two Tech posts went a combined 3 of 13 from the floor. Lang, meanwhile, scored 8 points and had 13 rebounds in the win.
Why Texas Tech lost
It failed to do anything in the paint. Texas’ Kelsey Lang dominated the middle and forced Tech to play entirely in a crowded perimeter. And its offense never got in a rhythm shooting 19 of 56 (33.9 percent) from the floor and putting up its lowest point total of the season. The Lady Raiders had previously scored a season-low 56 against Miami. Tech fell to 1-4 on the road this season. It is 7-0 at home.
Up next for Tech
Texas Tech has a quick turnaround against another quality Big 12 team, hosting Oklahoma State (11-1, 1-0) on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. at United Supermarkets Arena.