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Lady Raiders look to keep home streak going against West Virginia

Posted: January 10, 2017 - 8:12pm
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Life is always easier at home.

So far this season, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders are undefeated at United Supermarkets Arena, winning all nine games.

Their biggest challenge of the season so far, though, comes to town Wednesday (6:30 p.m.) in the form of No. 18 West Virginia (14-2, 2-2 Big 12).

The Lady Raiders came up short in a 68-54 loss to No. 25 Kansas State on Saturday. Freshman Arella Guirantes was the lone player to score more than 10 points against the Wildcats.

The loss moved Tech to 0-5 in true road games this season — They defeated Fordham 59-50 in Miami.

“I think a lot of teams play better at home and it is just a comfort level,” Texas Tech coach Candi Whitaker said. “You are in your own bed and shooting with the balls you use every day. But, we have to fix that. We have a young team and we have to go on the road and make plays and feel comfortable in other people’s gyms.”

Part of the issue against Kansas State on Saturday was a poor shooting performance, which saw Tech’s leading scorer, Recee’ Caldwell go 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

“We had a lot of shots that I thought were good that didn’t go down,” Whitaker said. “I thought we had a poor shooting night, but had good looks from people we believe in.

“Defensively, we played with frustration because shots weren’t going and fouled in situations we have not fouled in. We have to be better there and be more solid. But, it is tough on the road if you don’t make open shots and it is a big key for us.”

Scouting the Mountaineers

West Virginia has four players averaging in double figures, but Tynice Martin and Lanay Montgomery are the ones who make the the Mountaineers go.

Martin is averaging 17.3 points per game and Montgomery is 12 points per game and is pulling down 9.8 rebounds a game. And she is shooting an incredible 70.4 percent from the floor.

“I think West Virginia has a great team and they are well balanced,” Whitaker said. “Those are not the only two players were have to worry about. But, Tynice is as good and athletic as any wing in this league and I think Lanay Montgomery is having a really good year. She has improved her game in a lot of ways. She is a go-to player for them more than she has been in the past. We are going to have to do a really good job there. But, I have been pleased with our post defense and we have battled inside.”

West Virginia moved to 2-2 in Big 12 play after a 83-73 win over No. 20 Oklahoma on Sunday. The Mountaineers won last season’s game in Lubbock 69-42.

“West Virginia really comes out of the game fast and we have to be ready for it,” Whitaker said. “Hopefully we have leaned from Texas that you have to respond. They are going to turn up the heat defensively and try to turn you over and work hard in transition.”

Big 12: Power conference

Texas Tech is 28th in the latest RPI rankings. That only puts them fifth in the Big 12. And Texas is one spot below them at 29. West Virginia is No. 56. That is seven teams in the top 64 of the country and that is exactly how many teams might make the NCAA tournament this season from the conference if those numbers hold. And the magic number of wins to get in for any team from the conference might only be seven or eight.

Why is the Lady Raiders’ RPI so high despite a 10-5 record? The game against West Virginia, will be Tech’s sixth game against a ranked opponent this season and they have played four of those games on the road (Texas A&M, Miami, Kansas State and Texas).

Kansas State started a five-game stretch where every team Texas Tech will face will be ranked — with No. 18 West Virginia on Wednesday, No. 20 Oklahoma on Saturday, No. 16 Texas and then the Mountaineers for a second time the next week.

Probable Starters

TEXAS TECH (10-5, 2-2)

Player Pos. Ht. Pts. Reb. A.

R. Caldwell G 5-8 17.5 2.6 4.5

I. CookTaylor G 5-10 7.7 4.7 1.8

A. Guirantes F 5-11 12.2 4.9 1.0

B. Brewer F 5-6 6.1 6.3 0.4

J. Terry C 6-5 11.7 6.9 0.3

WEST VIRGINIA (14-2, 2-2)

Player Pos. Ht. Pts. Reb. A.

C. Ray G 5-7 9.3 4.1 6.5

T. Martin G 5-7 17.9 4.1 2.9

T. Muldrow G 6-1 14.3 7.5 2.7

K. King G 6-3 10.4 5.9 0.7

L. Montgomery P 6-5 12.0 9.8 1.0

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