GAME PREVIEW: Western Kentucky
No. 15 Texas Tech looks to stay unbeaten against Western Kentucky.
Dec. 21, 2011
WHO: Western Kentucky (3-8) at No. 15/18 Texas Tech Lady Raiders (9-0)
WHEN: 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011
WHERE: United Spirit Arena (15,098) Lubbock, Texas
RADIO: Texas Tech Sports Network, 97.3 FM (Lubbock) CLICK HERE to listen online
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Steve Strain
ANALYST: Crystal Boles
LAST MEETING: 2010 at Western Kentucky - Texas Tech 70, WKU 60
TEXAS TECH LADY RAIDERS (9-0)
Texas Tech (No. 15 AP/No. 18 USA Today Coaches Poll) reached its highest ranking in both polls since 2005 when the Lady Raiders began the season at No. 13 and fell to No. 14 on Nov. 21, 2005. Junior guard Christine Hyde led the Lady Raiders with 18 points, tying a career-high as they moved to 9-0 for the first time in six seasons under head coach Kristy Curry.
NO. NAME HT P YR STATS
23 Monique Smalls 5-6 G JR 8.4 pts/game
15 Casey Morris 5-9 G JR 10.9 pts/game
5 Christine Hyde 5-10 G JR 10.0 pts/game
41 Kelsi Baker 6-0 F SO 8.7 pts/game
20 Kierra Mallard 6-3 F SR 14.6 pts/game
WESTERN KENTUCKY LADY TOPPERS (3-8)
Western Kentucky comes into the United Spirit Arena fresh off its first Sun Belt Conference win of the season, beating Florida International 65-48. The Lady Toppers snapped a two-game losing streak with the win and are looking to come out on top on the road this season, losing its first five away games by an average of nearly 20 points per game (71-51.8).
NO. NAME HT P YR STATS
2 Chaney Means 5-8 G SO 4.3 pts/game
33 Vanessa Obafemi 5-10 G SR 6.5 pts/game
30 Chasity Gooch 6-0 F FR 6.9 pts/game
31 LaTeira Owens 6-1 F SR 14.8 pts/game
55 Jasmine Johnson 6-3 C SR 5.1 pts/game
AGAINST THE LADY TOPPERS
Texas Tech has an overall record of 3-3 against Western Kentucky, winning the previous two meeting last season (70-60) and in 2003 (88-47). The two teams first met in 1985 with the Lady Toppers coming out on top, 88-71. This is only the second meeting for head coach Kristy Curry against the group.
WIN, WIN, WIN
Texas Tech rides a 39-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents into Saturday's game against the Lady Lions. Tech has not lost a non-conference game at home since Dec. 4, 2007. The Lady Raiders are currently on a nine-game home winning streak overall, dating back to Feb. 16.
Texas Tech has a nine-game active win streak which is tied for fifth nationally as the longest active win streak. The Lady Raiders have not lost at home since Feb. 5, giving them a 10-game winning streak at United Spirit Arena.
Texas Tech senior forward Kierra Mallard scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds against Illinois on Saturday to record her fourth double-double of the season and 20th of her career.
The Texas Tech - Penn State game on Dec. 3 was the 11th-highest attended game this season for all NCAA Division I women's basketball games. There were 8,932 fans that packed United Spirit Arena to watch Tech beat Penn State, 70-66.
Texas Tech is only one of three undefeated teams in the Big 12 (Baylor, Oklahoma State) and only one of eight nationally.
Junior guard Casey Morris scored a career-high 24 points and had a career-high six 3-pointers to lead Texas Tech on Wednesday night. Morris beat her previous high of 23 points in last season's loss against Texas A&M on Feb. 5, She hit five 3-pointers twice last season at home against Sam Houston State (Nov. 28, 2010) and Oklahoma State (Feb. 26). She's set five career-highs this season for points, 3-pointers, rebounds, assists and steals.
Texas Tech junior point guard Monique Smalls had a career-high 11 assists on Dec. 7 against UTA. She also did not have a turnover for the third-consecutive game. Smalls is currently leading the country with a 5.88-to-1 assist to turnover ratio, totaling 47 assists and only eight turnovers.
Texas Tech has been off to quick starts in nearly every game this season. The Lady Raiders are outscoring opponents 156-66 in the first eight minutes of the game through nine games this season with 33 steals while forcing 51 turnovers.
Texas Tech leads the Big 12 Conference and is No. 4 nationally with 15.8 steals per game this season. The Lady Raiders have 18 or more steals against four opponents this season (UTA, Texas State, UMKC and New Mexico).
Texas Tech is second in the Big 12 Conference in scoring margin (27.9) and fifth overall in the country. The Lady Raiders are also second in conference in scoring with 81.6 points per game which is 8th best in the country.
OFF THE BOARDS
The Lady Raiders are leading the Big 12 Conference in rebounding defense (32.8) and are second in rebounding offense (49.3). They also lead the conference in rebounding margin (+16.6) which is also fifth-best among all NCAA Division I teams. Kierra Mallard (4.0 offensive rebs/game), Shauntal Nobles (3.9) and Kelsi Baker (2.9) are in the Top 15 in the Big 12 for offensive rebounds per game.
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