Women's Baketball Defeats Baylor, 79-67
WAKO, Texas- Before the biggest crowd in Baylor women's basketball history, No. 7-ranked Texas Tech pulled away at the end for a 79-67 win over the feisty Baylor Lady Bears.
With 5,482 watching, Tech's powerful post combination of All-American Alicia Thompson and Angie Braziel ran wild, scoring 30 and 24 point, respectively.
But Baylor gave the Raiders all they wanted with their pressure defense. After it was over Tech coach Marsha Sharp, who has a national championship on her resume, summed it up: "If I hadn't been coaching that one, I really would enjoyed watching it. It was a great game. We had to hold off a couple of huge challenges by Baylor."
The Red Raiders improved to 16-4 overall, 9-1 in the Big 12, while the Lady Bears go to 14-7 and 7-4.
And while the Lady Bears were disappointed with the loss, they knew they had played an outstanding game against one of the country's best teams. Said coach Sonja Hogg, "I thought it was a great basketball game, a great game. I'm very proud of our team. They came to play and gave it all they had. We never gave up. I'm proud."
Through the early going it was a contest between Baylor's guard duo of Toya Ellis and Lara Webb and Tech's Braziel and Thompson.
Ellis, who led Baylor with 24 points on a 10-of-16 shooting night, lit it up early for the Bears, scoring six of Baylor's first 10 points as BU got out front 10-8 with 15:22 in the first half. The Red Raiders took their first lead at the 14:12 mark as Braziel hit from the paint.
Thompson hit back-to-back baskets from the lane, but Webb, who scored 17 and had four assists, tied it at 16 with a pair of free throws with 11:46 showing in the opening period of play.
The game was tied at 18 as Thompson scored from the top of the key and Webb connected from the left side. Then it was knotted again at 20 points apiece with Cara Gibbs scored for Tech and Moffitt hit a driving layup for the Lady Bears.
Rene Hanebutt nailed a three-pointer to put TT up by three at 23-20, but Ellis answered with one for Baylor to tie it at 23.
Tech then started a run with Katrisa O'Neal scoring and Hanebutt hitting a trey. With 6:52 to go, Tech was up by five at 28-23.
Tech kept the lead as Braziel and Thompson continued to dominate for the Raiders and Kacy Moffitt heated up for the Lady Bears. With 3:55 to go Thompson scored to make it 35-29.
Webb hit a driving layup in heavy traffic and then connected on the following free throw to cut the lead at 34-32 at the 3:11 mark.
Those points were to be Baylor's last of the half as the Raiders went on a 6-0 run to end the opening stanza. Again, it was too much Thompson and Braziel. Thompson hit a pair of free throws, Braziel scored driving the lane and Thompson hit a field goal.
"Thompson is one of the best players I've seen," Hogg said. "I'm really pleased she is finishing up her eligibility. She's a great player who will do well professionally, if that's what she chooses to do."
At the half Tech had increased its lead to eight at 40-32 as Thompson had accounted for 18 points and Braziel 12.
Thompson hit the first basket of the second half, but the Lady Bears promptly went on an 11-0 run. Ellis scored off a rebound, then stole the inbounds pass, scored again and drew the foul. She hit the free throw to make it 42-37 Tech.
Moffitt scored twice on 16-footers and then Ellis took an offensive rebound and scored from the baseline to give Baylor the lead at 43-42.
They key to Baylor's success was a full-court trapping defense that forced a total of 17 turnovers (16 in the second half alone). Baylor totalled 13 steals, 12 in the second half.
"Baylor's defense was awfully good," Sharp said. "They hit us with that press and we didn't respond real well. I credit Baylor."
Added Melinda Schmucker, "We've seen pressure defenses all year, but we've never had anybody put that much pressure on us."
Said Ellis, "We picked up the defensive intensity and they got frustrated. It caused them to turn the ball over."
Baylor then had eight trips down the floor without a score and Tech got the lead back at 52-43 as Thompson scored on a drive to the basket. Tech put together a 10-0 run while Baylor went almost five minutes without scoring.
Ellis finally broke the drought with a trey to make it 52-46, Tech at the 11:21 mark, but that proved to be BU's only field goal in an eight-minute stretch.
Tech kept up the barrage as Thompson and Braziel scored. With 7:48 to go the Raiders had gone on an 18-3 run and pulled away to a 58-46 lead.
"We stepped it up and stopped them from making big shots. We bounced back and did what we had to do." Thompson said.
Tasia Wright cut the lead to 10 at 62-52 with an eight-footer at the 5:00 mark. Braziel scored twice and Melinda Schmucker hit a trey from the top of the key with three seconds left on the shot clock as Tech went up with its biggest lead at 69-54 with 3:29 showing.
"We just had that one stretch where we couldn't score," Webb said. "We were still in the game until the end. The shots just didn't fall and it hurt us. I feel like I've been in a boxing ring. It was a pretty physical game."
Just when it seemed Tech was ready to cruise in with the win, the Lady Bears fought back with a furious 8-0 run. Webb hit a layup and was fouled. She made the free throw and Ellis stole the ball and hit a layup.
Mooney then hit from 12 feet to cut the lead to 69-62 with 1:30 left.
"It came right down to the wire. I know we lost by 12, but it was seven with a minute and a half. We stepped up the intensity and made a run at them. We made several runs, but you can only make so many," Hogg said. "We never gave up. That's why I'm so proud."
But Braziel scored an easy layup off Baylor's press to put the Raiders back up by nine at 71-62. The Raiders then finished it off at the free throw line.
"I'm thrilled with the win," Sharp said. "This was a tough win on the road. When I walked off the floor in Lubbock I said to my assistants, 'They will really crank it up down there.'"
"I credit Texas Tech," Hogg said. "They take their show on the road and beat people, but we're getting closer."