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The news broke two days ago, Lady Raiders starting point guard Chrislyn Carr had entered the transfer portal and was no longer with the team. This was a huge blow to a basketball team that valued Carr’s leadership and experience. She had been the starter at point guard for the last two and a half seasons for the Lady Raiders. Despite losing one of their best players, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders prevailed over a solid TCU team today by a score of 78-72.
Early on, the Lady Raiders missed their main distributor greatly as the offense was mostly stagnant. The team had a really hard time getting good looks at the Lady Horned Frogs got good look after good look. Texas Tech Coach Krista Gerlich called a timeout after the score reached 17-4 in favor of TCU. At that point in the game, TCU’s Lauren Heard had eight points including two three-pointers. The Lady Raiders had to make adjustments and make them fast.
Naje’ Murray came off the bench today for the Lady Raiders and made an immediate impact. With two minutes left in the first quarter, the deficit for the Lady Raiders was 20-4. Murray hit a three-pointer, then assisted Lexi Gordon on a three-pointer before hitting another three-pointer to help the team end the quarter on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 20-13.
The Lady Raiders came out a bit slow again in the second quarter as Heard for TCU had a mini 5-0 run by herself to extend the Lady Horned Frogs’ lead to 25-13 with 8:38 left in the quarter. TCU kept the Lady Raiders at arm’s length most of the quarter until Tech made some offensive adjustments and began moving the ball better in the latter half of the quarter. This led to some great looks closer to the basket. Alexis Tucker finished the quarter with a three-pointer and a mid-range jump-shot to cut the TCU lead from eleven to five going into halftime with a score of 36-31.
Coach Gerlich made Coach Beard-like adjustments at halftime and the Lady Raiders took over the game in the second half. The Lady Horned Frogs scored the first four points of the third quarter to go up 40-31. This was the biggest lead TCU had the rest of the game. The Lady Raiders fought back tooth and nail for this one in the third quarter.
Two separate 7-0 runs capped off by a breakaway layup by Lexi Gordon gave Tech their first lead since early in the first quarter with a score of 45-44. The remainder of the third quarter was back and forth with Maka Jackson hitting a free-throw with .8 of a second left to put the Lady Raiders on top 51-50 going into the fourth quarter.
Vivian Gray and Lexi Gordon took over the last quarter of the game. Gordon with her shot creation and free-throw shooting. Gray with her aggressive moves in the paint that led to free-throws and her incredible defense down the stretch. It was still incredibly close the entire quarter as the Lady Raiders led by no more than five until the finally minute of the game. It seemed that every shot the Lady Raiders put in was matched by the Lady Horned Frogs.
With 1:19 left in the game, TCU forward Yummy Morris put in a lay-up to tie the at 68. A timeout was called by Coach Gerlich and from that moment forward, the defense from Texas Tech was stout and their play in the final minute-plus of that game was the deciding factor. In that last minute, Lexi Gordon scored four and Vivian Gray nailed six free-throws. Gray also made two key blocks on lay-up attempts by TCU guard Lauren Heard in the last few seconds of the game to seal it for the Lady Raiders.
The Lady Raiders finished this game. The past few seasons, this program had often not finished games and fumbled down the stretch to lose. This game was a testament to the amazing culture Head Coach Krista Gerlich has installed in just a few months.
Vivian Gray dominated this game without scoring a ton of points. Most of the season, she had been the Lady Raiders’ main scoring option alongside Lexi Gordon but this game she was shut down pretty effectively by TCU’s defense. She only shot 3-9 from the field but had ten free-throw attempts. She also ten rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks in the game. Gray was everywhere on the court and she is one of the main reasons the Lady Raiders pulled this one out.
Lexi Gordon also had a fantastic game, as she led the team with 24 points. Gordon did not have a good game from behind the arc, but she shot a very solid 7-11 from inside the three-point line. She also put seven of eight free-throws in the basket.
This was a very encouraging game for the Lady Raiders. The team showed fight and determination throughout a bunch of adversity. Honestly, I came into this game not expecting a win. Carr meant that much to this team and without a main distributor, I didn’t know how their offense would look. I am very happy to say they proved me wrong.
The Lady Raiders play next on Monday afternoon against Southern.
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