Mallard Makes Most of Return|
Kierra Mallard has defined herself as a true teammate on the Lady Raiders squad.
February 8, 2012
by Katie Yingling
Texas Tech senior forward Kierra Mallard is back in the swing of things after a two-game stint on the bench. She returned against Texas A&M, but appeared a little rusty. Then on Sunday, against Missouri, she began to hit her stride once again.
Mallard scored 10 points in a 76-49 rout over Missouri (10-11, 0-10 Big 12), and led the team with nine total rebounds to help the Lady Raiders (16-6, 4-6) outdo the Tigers on the boards 40-31.
"I've just been trying to get my conditioning, just try to find my teammates, and just try to be a person who scores or does my defensive job," Mallard said.
Mallard, the Lady Raiders' leading scorer with 12.8 points per game, missed her first start this season and first in 56 career Big 12 games on Jan. 25. Against Missouri she was one of four Texas Tech players to score in the double digits. Shauntal Nobles and Christine Hyde each added 12, and Casey Morris lead the team with 15.
Although Mallard struggled from the field going 4-for-13, Curry said that will improve with time.
"I thought she (Mallard) played really hard against A&M but it takes some time to get back in the swing of things and get back in the flow of things, and your conditioning and getting your rhythm back. That's something that is beyond her control, we just want to try and help her," Curry said.
Mallard said it feels good to be back, and she just wants to do whatever she can to help her team win.
"I just want my team to win," Mallard said. "I just want us to go far. I don't care if I start or come off the bench. I'm just going to play."
Curry said Mallard's attitude makes her special.
"I think that is the greatness of her personality," Curry said. "It is just `Whatever I need to be doing for my team to be successful -- I'll be willing to do.' And that is the same with Shauntal and JB and Kelsi. We just need to be 12 strong, regardless of who starts, who comes off the bench. I loved her approach tonight, I loved it."
Texas Tech is in the heart of its season, with eight games remaining before the Big 12 Conference Championship. Only three games will be at home, but the Lady Raiders can take the sweep of Missouri on the road with them and move forward.
Curry said that this was a good win, but they need to be able to win back-to-back games.
"You play in November, to play in December, and December prepares you for January, and January prepares you for February. And February is where it matters," Curry said. "Because that is going to get you to March or it's not. Each of those months before, get you to where you want to go. Now we've got to understand the importance of February."
Texas Tech will travel to Oklahoma State Wednesday then return home to play Iowa State on Sunday at 1:30. The Lady Raiders encourage fans to join them wearing pink to support Breast Cancer awareness.