Lady Raiders Fall to Rutgers in NCAA Tournament
March 20, 1999
By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Rutgers believes it plays good enough defense to stop anyone. After seeing that defense up close and personal, Texas Tech won't argue that point.
Seemingly covering every inch of the floor with its matchup zone, Rutgers held Texas Tech scoreless for the first 8:54 of the game and beat the Lady Raiders 53-42 Saturday night in the NCAA Midwest Regional.
"We wanted to prove tonight on national television that we have the best defense in the country," Rutgers guard Tasha Pointer said. "Take that how you want. Defense will be played."
The Scarlet Knights (29-5) certainly played it against Tech (30-4), which missed its first eight shots and never got into any offensive rhythm. Rutgers has won three NCAA tournament games for the first time and will play No. 1-ranked Purdue in the regional finals Monday night.
The winner of that game goes to the Final Four in San Jose, Calif.
"We're not done yet," Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer said. "We've got miles to go before we stop. Our defense is stingy. We play with attitude."
Tomora Young led Rutgers with 15 points and Shawnetta Stewart scored 12, all in the second half. Linda Miles added six points, eight rebounds and four steals for the Scarlet Knights, who scored the game's first 11 points, built a 25-11 halftime lead and led by as many as 22 in the second half.
"We didn't see anything we didn't expect," Texas Tech coach Marsha Sharp said. "We didn't hit our shots early, which made us rush and get out of synch."
Texas Tech, the Big 12 regular-season and tournament champion, had averaged 75 points a game on the inside play of second-team All-American Angie Braziel and the outside shooting of Rene Hanebutt and Julie Lake.
But none of that worked against Rutgers. Tech didn't score until Cara Gibbs' basket at the 11:06 mark in the first half and a little more than 12 minutes into the game, the Lady Raiders trailed 17-2.
Texas Tech made only 4-of-19 shots in the opening half and shot 35.7 percent for the game.
"We knew their zone was good," Braziel said. "They denied a lot of passes. Their players were so big that it was hard for our guards to get the ball to me inside. That was the difference tonight."
Gibbs led Texas Tech with 12 points. Braziel, averaging 20.7 points, scored only six and Hanebutt had two - 13 below her average. A 41 percent 3-point shooter, Hanebutt was 0-for-8 from behind the arc.
In the first half, Tech's starters were a combined 0-for-12 from the field and Braziel's two free throws were the only points by a starter.
Rutgers, playing patiently on offense, shot 61 percent (11-for-18) in the first half and 50 percent for the game.
"Our offense hasn't been clicking all season, but tonight was typical for us," Pointer said. "Our defense carried us."
Only one time did Texas Tech make any threat to get back into the game. Hanebutt's only basket, a jump shot with 14:37 left, pulled the Lady Raiders to 32-21. But Young and Stewart each scored six points in a 14-2 run that stretched the lead to 47-25 and put Rutgers firmly back in control.
For a while, Tech threatened the NCAA tournament record for scoring futility, which was 34 points by Southwest Missouri State in a second-round loss to Colorado in 1995. The Lady Raiders did match Southwest Missouri's low for a half with its 11-point first half.
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