Women's Basketball drops 66-59 decision to Texas Tech
Jan. 16, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Women's Basketball team fell to the Texas Tech Lady Raiders, 66-59, in Big 12 action on Wednesday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Longhorns' post presence led the team in the game. Freshman center Imani McGee-Stafford tied her career high with 20 points, 14 of which came in the second half. She also grabbed 11 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season, a figure that ranks third in the Big 12. Sophomore forward Nneka Enemkpali added 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 8-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Texas Tech (13-4, 3-2 Big 12) broke out of the gates, making 11 of their first 17 shots from the field to take a 27-15 lead. Senior guard Casey Morris scored 15 of Texas Tech's first 23 points, shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the field, including two three-pointers. The Lady Raiders' defense was able to turn 14 first-half Texas turnovers into 19 points.
The Texas defense turned the tables on the Lady Raiders over the final eight minutes of the first half, forcing Texas Tech to shoot 3-of-12 from the field and holding Morris 0-of-6 during the span. The Longhorns cut the lead to four on a 16-6 run but entered the halftime locker room down eight.
UT strung together several scoring runs but were unable to have the same success on defense. Texas (7-9, 0-5 Big 12) used a 7-0 second-half run to cut the lead to four at 51-47 with nine minutes remaining, but Texas Tech bounced back with a quick three-pointer from Morris and a steal and layup from senior guard Monique Smalls.
With just over five minutes to play in the game, junior guard Chassidy Fussell turned a Texas Tech turnover into a layup to cut the deficit to four at 58-54. After a layup by Texas Tech, junior guard Ashley Roberts hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to three. Roberts then got a steal and McGee-Stafford moved Texas to within one 20-foot jumper for the closest margin since the Longhorns led 7-6 in the opening minutes. However, Texas Tech answered with an offensive rebound and score from Brown to put the lead back at three with 1:13 remaining.
UT couldn't find the basket over the final minute, shooting 0-of-3, and was unable to complete the comeback.
Morris and senior guard Chynna Brown and each scored 20 points for the game to lead the Lady Raiders.
Texas returns to the court on Saturday, Jan. 19 in Norman, Okla., with a Big 12 matchup against Oklahoma. Tip off is set for 2 p.m. Central.
POSTGAME NOTES - TEXAS vs. TEXAS TECH
-Texas is now 61-28 all-time against Texas Tech ... the series is the longest-running in school history.
-The Longhorns hold a 29-7 advantage over the Lady Raiders when playing in the Erwin Center ... UT's last loss to Texas Tech at home came on Feb. 26, 2006.
-The Longhorns shot 48.9 percent (22-of-45) from the field, their best shooting performance since the Central Connecticut State at home when (Nov. 24, 2012)
-Texas outscored the Lady Raiders in the paint, 30-24, and has outscored its Big 12 opponents in the paint in three of the last four games.
-Posted her sixth career double-double, matching a career-high 20 points (8-of-12 FG, 4-of-5 FT) and adding 11 rebounds to lead Texas in both categories.
-Also set new career highs in field goals (eight) and assists (three).
-Her 18 points (5-of-8 FG, 8-of-11 FT) were the most she has scored since Nov. 24, 2012, at home against Central Connecticut State.
-Has reached double-figure scoring in four of the last five games.
-Has swatted a block in each of the last five games in which she has played
-Recorded a season-high 13 minutes playing in her third game of the season.
Texas Head Coach Karen Aston
Opening statement: I mean the story of four of the games we have played in conference play is just too many mistakes. I think our effort and our attitude about the adversity in game is getting so much better but the mistakes are still happening with turnovers, critical possessions, where we make a mistake defensively, disconnect, don't communicate defensively in a certain possession, or don't execute a play we call. I think that is mainly youth, discipline. I will say some of that is just discipline of communicating lots of things we talk about in practice but I don't want to discount that when I get in timeouts and I hear the encouraging words from the kids that is a positive move forward from our team and I don't want to act like I am proud to lose but I am proud that we are not giving in. I am proud that their effort was good tonight and I am proud that they came back tonight and could've cratered when they got down. I am proud of moving forward.
On when effort will not become enough for this team: If this was an older team, I would probably say it would've not been good enough a long time ago but mistakes are being made because they are playing against season players. Some of the players', their time is getting limited. I think we found the combination of players today that executed some things really well and it may be that some players don't play as many minutes if they make multiple mistakes. Again, if this was an older team and they were running out there doing their own thing, I would be really frustrated but a lot of these mistakes that they are making is because they are really, really young and have never been in these situations before. I don't think they are that stubborn or not coachable. I mean there are some things we talk about in a timeout and then we go out there and they do exactly the opposite and I don't think they are that stubborn. I may of thought that a while back but I don't now. We have had some good conversations and I think that they are trying. In the moment they are making mistakes that you hope in due time they will stop making.
On thoughts when teams do have more experienced players: I think a significant edge. I think when you look across the Big 12 you may see some freshmen playing and sophomores but there is not a whole slew of them. So the ones that do play feel very free. For example the player at Oklahoma State last week; I mean she is their only freshmen that plays significant minutes and you can tell she plays really free because she has others telling her what to do and when to do it and she feels really guided with this situation. A lot of pressure on young people and some of them react differently than others and some of them just simply have never done this before.
Junior G Chassidy Fussell
On frustration of last seven games: We really just have to stay positive and keeping working hard in practice.
On feelings about yesterday's events (retirement of Cokie Reed and Chelsea Bass): Everyday that you lose a teammate that I have been with for three years is going to be tough. Chelsea is one of my best friends from the basketball standpoint. Also, Cokie was, too. And I mean off and on the court, I think it is going to hurt me a lot and I think its hurting the team a lot, too. But just like Coach said, we have to keep moving forward.
Freshman C Imani McGee-Stafford
On thoughts about ever being a player the team would rely on: I don't think the team relies on me. I think that right now it isn't just one person we go to. We don't have the type of team where we can depend on Nneka Enemkpali or we can all depend on Chas. Whoever is on the floor, all five of them have to show up. I mean to answer your question no, I guess not. I went out and I played 30 minutes today and I am still trying to earn my keep.
On thoughts about how team came back from a large deficit: I think we were working - emphasis on we. We were moving the ball, people were doing what they needed to do in offense, we were making stops, and everybody was at their man. You can't really say more than that. The chips just didn't fall.
Texas Tech Head Coach Kristy Curry
On hanging on for the win: I thought we showed great character. There were a lot of times when things weren't really going our way and our kids really found a way to win down the stretch. That's a credit to their character. I was proud of them and proud for them.
On having Casey Morris and Chynna Brown both score 20 points: That's good. It's really good when they can both come out and be aggressive and have some success early. That's what we want them to do. We're always talking about hands and feet and being ready to shoot. I thought tonight they did a great job of making plays.
On what's not working for Texas: I don't think there is anything not working. I think it's the Big 12. They've lost a lot of close games. They are six or seven points away from being 4-1 or 3-2, or however many games we've played. We've got 13 games to go and Texas is a good basketball team. They're very talented inside and their perimeter play is going to improve.
Senior G Casey Morris
On scoring quickly: We've been practicing everyday to push the ball in transition. We were running in transition and our teammates were finding us and we were finding our teammates. We were just playing in rhythm. We just caught the ball in flow and shot it and saw success.
On finishing strong: We were composed. The senior class showed a lot of leadership and maturity. I think that showed and helped us a lot in the end. We've been in situations like that throughout this year and previous years so we're ready for it and we stay focused.