It wasn’t the prettiest game, nor the most fundamentally
sound performance by either team, but the Lady Raiders were able to overcome
adversity, injuries and shooting droughts to beat the Cyclones for the first
time this season.
Texas Tech (17-7, 5-7 in Big 12 Conference Play) came out in
their all pink uniforms and shoes, as a part of the Play 4 Kay game, and took
another step in the right direction with a 51-41 victory on Sunday inside the
United Spirit Arena.
“We was a little pumped up,” Tech junior Chynna
Brown said. “I feel like the fans that did come out, I appreciate them coming
out due to the weather, so just them being there, everybody on the team just
came out together ready to go. We just talked to each other in the huddle and
said we need this win, we need to get this one.”
Despite the weather 7,297 fans still showed up to cheer on
the Lady Raiders and witnessed a physical game that might have cost Tech one of
its two seniors.
Tech opened the contest on an 8-2 run before Iowa State
(14-9, 5-7) was able to slowly chip away at the lead, but would not take it
until the second half.
With the lead in hand and just around a minute left before
half, senior Kierra Mallard made a jumper to put Tech up 24-18, but when she
came down – she didn’t get back up.
Mallard immediately grasped at her left leg and had to have
medical attention and was eventually helped back to her feet and was assisted
off the court back to the locker room. Mallard did return to the game after the
half, but in a wheel chair and she had an immobilizer on her leg.
Following the game Tech head coach Kristy Curry said Mallard
will have an MRI in the morning to get a clearer idea
of the extent of the injury
The Lady Raiders were not able to pull to a substantial
lead, but were able to maintain the lead going into the locker room, 25-21.
Iowa State was able to come out of the locker room and piece
together a 7-2 run behind the shooting of Nikki Moody, who finished the game
3-for-13 from the field for 11 points, which was second on the team for the
With that run the Cyclones were able to take a slim 28-27
lead with 16:19 left in the game, which would be the final time Iowa State
would lead in the game.
Despite getting the lead the Cyclones were unable to hang on
as the Lady Raiders rattled off a 15-3 run which included a clutch 3-pointer by
Brown with 7:46 left in the game.
Brown finished the game going for 19 points on 8-for-17
shooting marking her second straight game of reaching double-digits and was the
only Lady Raider to do so in the win.
The Dallas native said she was shooting well during shoot
around and utilized that in the game when she came to those spots on the floor.
“I just feel like I came out aggressive, shot the ball well
and just trying to rebound and guard most of all,” Brown said. “Like (Curry)
said just get a win.”
Up by 10, 43-33, Tech continued to put the hammer down
eventually extending its lead to 14 with just 1:32 left in the game.
Tech would finish off the cyclones with some free throws and
rolled to a 51-41 win.
“It’s not real hard to figure out what the issue in the game
was when your guards are 1-for-21 at one point and you shoot 27 percent for the
game your not going to beat anyone, especially a good team like Tech,” Iowa
State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “It didn’t matter
who we threw out there we couldn’t make a shot, we only turned the ball over 13
times, I thought we defended OK, rebounding’s were even but this game is
ultimately about making baskets.
“So when you don’t make baskets, you don’t win.”
With the win, the Lady Raiders have inched closer to getting
back to .500 in conference play and even closer to March.
The Lady Raiders next test will be on the road against a
Texas team that they were able to knock down in Lubbock, 75-71, on January 28.
Despite getting this win, Curry said her team understands
the importance of getting over the win and moving onto the next game.
“Well they’re all big from here on out, you know we’ve got
about till midnight to enjoy it then we’ve got to bounce back,” she said.
“There’s got to be a sense of urgency, you don’t get to March if you don’t
embrace February, so we understand that. There’s not much celebrating in the
locker room, I asked them why they weren’t more excited, it’s more just about
business and we need to take care of it.”