Texas Tech women come apart early vs. No. 1 Baylor

After two closes losses against Baylor in the regular season,

Texas Tech had hope for an upset of the nation’s top-ranked

team.

That hope didn’t last very long. Not even until halftime,

really.

The No. 1 Lady Bears closed the half on a 13-0 run and took all

the suspense out of their 72-48 win Thursday in the Big 12

tournament.

”You’ve got to come out and make shots and be aggressive,”

Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said. I felt like we were going east

and west and not rim to rim or north to south.”

The Lady Raiders actually took a two-point lead by holding

Baylor to four points in the opening four minutes. It didn’t

last.

Odyssey Sims scored 18 points and Brittney Griner had 15 points,

nine rebounds and five blocks for the Lady Bears (32-0), who will

face Kansas State in the semifinals.

The plight for Texas Tech (19-13) was symbolized by Ashley

Field’s three-point bank shot that beat the buzzer at the end of

the first half. That made it 40-16 after Tech had been hanging

around, trailing just 27-16 with 3:53 left in the half.

Monique Smalls led the Lady Raiders with 11 points and Kelsi

Baker had nine rebounds.

”I really feel like we didn’t come out playing as well as we

know we should have,” Smalls said. ”But credit to Baylor. They

had a good game and we had a bad shooting half. It happens.”

With Tech up two after the first television timeout, Sims got

things rolling for Baylor with a couple of passes over the top of

the zone defense. Baylor went to full court pressure and the length

and athleticism of the Lady Bears kept the Texas Tech offense in

check.

Unable to finish drives against the intimidating presence of

Griner, Texas Tech shot just 18.5 percent (5 of 27) in the first

half while committing 12 turnovers. Meanwhile, Baylor was able to

distribute the ball well over the final 16 minutes of the half,

resulting in a 61.5 percent field goal percentage (16 of 26). The

Lady Bears had a 20-4 advantage in lane points during the opening

20 minutes.

”They’ve got great balance across the board and their

supporting cast is playing really well,” Curry said.

Texas Tech had looked strong on Wednesday with an opening round

victory over Texas, but the deep and talented Lady Bears proved to

be a different type of challenge.

The Lady Raiders had hoped to stay with Baylor by avoiding

Griner as much as possible and hitting a bevy of 3-pointers. But

Tech finished just 3 of 14 from beyond the arc.

The Lady Raiders played a lot of zone and collapsed around

Griner whenever she caught the ball in the post. But Sims hit four

three-pointers and had balanced scoring with Griner taking just 10

shots.

”Today, their supporting cast did a great job of getting into

the heart of the defense,” Curry said. ”I’m sure that’s something

they’ve worked on. You’ve got to pick and choose. I don’t think you

can let (Griner) be your entire focal point. You’ve got to have

great balance not only at the offensive end, but also the defensive

end.”