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Feb. 9, 1997

Lady Raiders Fall Flat Against Huskers

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The No. 14-ranked Texas Tech Lady Raiders looked like gangbusters Wednesday night in dismantling the Texas Lady Longhorns 93-76 in Lubbock.

The same Lady Raiders (14-6, 6-4) looked like anything but gangbusters in their game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (17-3, 7-3), dropping a 62-57 road decision to the 'Huskers in front of 8,637 fans in the Devaney Athletic Center. The loss dropped the Lady Raiders to 2-3 in conference road games. All three losses came against Big 12 North Division opponents.

The 'Huskers followed a Rene Hanebutt bucket with an 8-0 run to open the game. Anna DeForge scored four points in the run that put Nebraska up 8-2 with 15 minutes left in the opening half.

The Lady Raiders responded with back-to-back baskets by Alicia Thompson, who scored 47 points against the Longhorns, and freshman forward Keitha Dickerson that trimmed the lead to two points.

Nebraska scored two quick buckets to push the lead back to six. Both teams went cold on offense for several minutes afterwards. Lady Raider post Cara Gibbs finally broke a four-minute scoring drought for the Raiders by hitting one of two free throws. That sparked a 5-0 run that pulled the Raiders within 12-11 with 12 minutes left in the first period.

DeForge scored four more points on an 8-2 run that put the 'Huskers up 20-13 with 8:00 left. Thompson scored three points in a 5-0 run that pulled the Raiders within 20-18, but the 'Huskers' Emily Thompson scored six straight points, giving Nebraska a 26-20 lead with 3:20 left in the opening half.

The Lady Raiders finally found the range from outside at the three-minute mark when Hanebutt hit a three-pointer to trim the lead to three. The Raiders followed that with a driving lay in by Julie Lake and a 17-foot jumper by Thompson to pull ahead 27-26, their first lead since early in the game.

The lead didn't hold, though. Nebraska's Tina McClain scored four points to put the Cornhuskers up 30-27. A buzzer-beating three-pointer by Tech's Thompson tied the game at 30 entering halftime.

The Lady Raiders shot a dismal 35.5 percent while the 'Huskers shot 43.8 percent in the first half. Both teams grabbed 21 rebounds.

If Thompson's late three-pointer gave the Lady Raiders any momentum, it didn't show early in the second half of the game.

McClain scored six straight points, sparking a 10-1 run that made the score 40-31 Nebraska with 16:50 left to play.

The Lady Raiders finally found the basket on a Thompson jumper, but another McClain basket followed a DeForge layin and gave the Cornhuskers a 44-33 lead with 14 minutes left in the game.

That's when Tech started to make a game of it.

Lake hit two free throws, igniting a 10-3 run that would see the 'Huskers go without a field goal for almost six minutes. McClain finally broke Nebraska's field goal drought by nailing a jumper with a little more than 6:30 to go, but Hanebutt answered with a three-pointer to trim the lead to 49-46.

The Cornhuskers hit five of six free throws during the next two minutes, padding the lead to 54-47 with just more than four minutes left in the ballgame.

Hanebutt, though, refused to quit, hitting a running jumper and following that with two NBA-range three-pointers that eventually pushed Tech into its first lead of the second half, 57-56 with 1:20 left to play.

And that was it. The Cornhuskers hit six of seven free throws in the final 80 seconds of the game, and the Lady Raiders didn't score a single point in falling to their fourth conference loss.

Thompson led the Raiders with 20 points, but scored only five in the second half. Hanebutt had 18, including four three-pointers. No other Lady Raider scored in double figures, with Lake barely missing the double-digit mark at nine points.

McClain scored a team- and game-high 21 points for the 'Huskers. She was followed by DeForge with 14.

The Lady Raiders shot 31.7 percent for the game, including 33 percent (five of 15) from three-point range. Tech really struggled at the charity stripe, hitting 10-of-20 free throws for the game, including 4-of-10 in the second half. The Lady Raiders won the battle of the boards, though, 41-35.

Nebraska shot 41.5 percent for the game, but missed all seven three-point attempts. The 'Huskers excelled at the free throw line, hitting 18 of 25 shots, a 72 percent success rate. The Cornhuskers also forced the Lady Raiders into 19 turnovers.

The Lady Raiders, who fell into the fifth spot in the Big 12 Conference, two games out of first place, will try to rally with consecutive home games against former Southwest Conference foes Texas A&M and Baylor. The Raiders face the Lady Aggies first in a game scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. CT Wednesday, Feb. 12.

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