The Lady Raiders faced a tough loss in Austin tonight as they fell 71-80 to No. 20 Texas. Despite an impressive fourth-quarter push, a night of serious offensive struggles through three led to a hole that Texas Tech just couldn’t dig themselves out of. With the loss, the Lady Raiders drop to 16-8 overall and 4-7 in conference play. They will look to bounce back on Saturday when they take on Kansas at home in the first game of the doubleheader with the men’s team.
After the first two quarters of action, only three of the ten Lady Raiders that touched the floor were able to put points on the board. Bre’Amber Scott, Bryn Gerlich, and Bailey Maupin combined for the team’s 27 first-half points. Despite a blow-for-blow start to the game, a few too many second-chance opportunities for the Longhorns and a 10-minute scoring drought for the Lady Raiders resulted in Texas holding an 11-point lead going into halftime. While Texas Tech nearly matched Texas’ efforts on the defensive glass, the disparage in offensive boards and team-wide scoring contribution is what gave the Longhorns the upper hand through the first 20 minutes. It was evident that an adjustment of some kind at the break would be crucial in allowing the Lady Raiders to close the gap in the second half.
Unfortunately, the offensive struggles continued as Texas Tech opened the third quarter with zero field goals through the first six minutes. After the third quarter, the Lady Raiders were only able to incorporate two more players into the offensive scheme, Katie Ferrell and Rhyle McKinney. McKinney’s three points of the quarter came in the last 90 seconds when she hit a much-needed three, being the second of the only two field goals Texas Tech made throughout the quarter. Following a frustrating third quarter, the Lady Raiders came out and found an offensive rhythm in the fourth. After averaging only 13 points through the first three quarters, something seemed to click offensively in the fourth as Texas Tech managed to score 32 in those final 10 minutes.
Despite the late scoring surge, the once 20-point deficit proved to be too great to overcome, and in the end, the Lady Raiders just couldn’t pull it out. While losing a rivalry game certainly stings, for this team to persevere like that after struggling for the majority of the game is something to be incredibly proud of. It’s also important to remember that Texas Tech went into Austin as 19-point underdogs, so a single-digit loss to a very competitive Texas team is far from being the end of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that Krista Gerlich will continue to shape this team into a true force to be reckoned with in the games to come.