Texas Tech women race past Western Kentucky|
Casey Morris led No. 15 Texas Tech with 11 points on Wednesday night.
Dec. 21, 2011
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Christmas came a little early for Texas Tech on Wednesday night as the No. 15 Lady Raiders played their final home game of 2011 before 7,888 fans at United Spirit Arena, beating Western Kentucky, 75-38.
Tech (10-0) not only has its best start since going 15-0 in 2003-04 but also gave head coach Kristy Curry her first 10-0 start in 13 seasons as a head coach.
"I'm just happy for the kids and their commitment," Curry said. "This team has their heart in the right place, I don't know what is going to happen but I do know that everyday they are going to lay it on the line and try to do all that they can to be successful."
The Lady Raiders looked poised and precise, shooting a season-best 53.3 percent from the field (24 of 45) as junior guard Casey Morris scored a game-high 11 points while fellow junior guards Chynna Brown and Monique Smalls added nine points each with sophomore Kelsi Baker.
All 12 players registered minutes on Wednesday night as 11 of them scored.
Being in the Christmas spirit not only led to handing out holiday cards, t-shirts and candy to the crowd at the USA - the generosity of spreading the ball around was also apparent.
Six players registered two or more assists while seven players ended the game with six points or more. Nobody exemplified that more than Smalls, who ended the game with five rebounds, five steals and three assists on top of her nine points.
She led a defense that once again jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the opening eight minutes while forcing four turnovers.
Smalls said a big portion of her intensity on defense comes from the fans of Lady Raider Nation.
"The fans get into the game and it gets into your head and gives you extra energy," Smalls said. "And getting into the defense it's like if I don't get a steal I know my teammates are going to get it because putting a lot of pressure at the top helps Kierra (Mallard) or the back post to get the steal."
Tech scored 27 points off 13 steals and 20 turnovers total. The Lady Raiders led the Big 12 Conference and were No. 4 nationally in steals coming into Wednesday night, averaging 15.8 per game.
Tech will play its final two non-conference games in San Diego on Dec. 29 (Cal State Bakerfield) and Dec. 30 (San Diego) before returning home on Jan. 4 to open conference play against Oklahoma State.
"It's just going to be important for us to continue to learn how to travel and spend some time together," Curry said. "Obviously Cal State Bakersfield is our first game and then we go into a hostile environment with San Diego. They're 8-2 right now and they're a good basketball team and we have to make sure that with Cal State Bakersfield that we don't take anything for granted and we are prepared and ready to go."