Lady Raiders crush Texas in first round at Big 12 Championship
Casey Morris scored 21 in Texas Tech's win on Wednesday night.
March 7, 2012
KANSAS CITY - Casey Morris scored 21 points to lead four Texas Tech players in double figures on Wednesday night as the ninth-seeded Lady Raiders beat No. 8 Texas, 81-58 in the first round of the Big 12 Championship at Municipal Auditorium.
Junior guards Chynna Brown and Monique Smalls ended the night with 12 points each while Kierra Mallard scored her sixth double-double this season with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Senior Jordan Barncastle also added 11.
Tech (19-12) advances to the Big 12 Quarterfinals for the second consecutive season and will face No. 1 Baylor (31-0) at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Texas (18-13) started out quickly with a 9-4 lead on Ashley Fussell's first 3-pointer of the game but Tech quickly regrouped and blew open the game with a 14-1 run over the next 10 minutes while the Longhorns went without a field goal and had just one free throw make.
Texas would shoot just 17.9 percent in the first half.
Tech would keep it going into the second half after building a 35-21 lead, going on another 10-2 run to take a 45-23 lead. It would end up being a 41-14 run.
It was very similar to the way the Lady Raiders won in Manhattan on Saturday, using a 40-11 run to edge out Kansas State, 64-63.
"We obviously needed something good to happen to us," Tech head coach Kristy Curry said. "We've lost a lot of close ones and self-induced a few errors along the way. Just their character and how we stuck together. That was definitely a positive for us to end the conference season that way.
"That gave us momentum into today, and we certainly build on it. We have a choice, you can build on it or be satisfied with it. And we decided to build on it. So proud of the kids representing the Double T today."
Wednesday night's win was the largest margin-of-victory over Texas and the first win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship since 2001. It was only the second win against the Longhorns in the annual tournament.
While Morris continued to hit outside shots and penetrate in the second half, Mallard and sophomore Shauntal Nobles crashed the boards repeatedly to give Tech multiple second-chance points on offense and not allow Texas to catch up after its makes on defense. The Lady Raiders outrebounded Texas 50-42 - 33-24 on their own end of the court.
"I thought the combination of Shauntal and Kierra was a big boost for us," Curry said. " I thought Barncastle tried to hold her on. We were just concerned about the offensive glass the second half and did a decent enough job to give ourselves a chance down the stretch."
Morris was perfect from the free throw line (9 of 9) as Tech shot its best from the charity stripe this season - 22 of 25 (88 percent).
The Lady Raiders may be able to secure an NCAA Tournament bid if it can become the first team to beat top-ranked Baylor. Tech led Baylor for nearly half the game the last time the two teams met on Feb. 18 in Waco, losing 56-51. Tech is the only team to say within single digits of the Lady Bears twice this season.
"It's just about finding offense tomorrow, and we believe in what we're doing and how we're trying to do it," Curry said. "We've missed some shots that just one here or there that would have made a difference. So I think these kids have a lot of confidence, and at this point, it doesn't really matter to us who we play because we're just thankful for another day. We're playing to stay alive at this point."