With all the pregame festivities honoring the two seniors
for the Lady Raiders, Jordan Barncastle and Kierra Mallard, who played their final
game at home on Wednesday night inside the United Spirit Arena, a win against
Oklahoma would have nicely capped off the evening.
But the Sooners would have no part in helping with that part
of the party as Oklahoma led for the majority of the game and handed Tech
another heartbreaking loss, 71-62, marking the fifth-straight loss for the Lady
“Well I mean it’s always emotional on senior night, so that
definitely adds to it and anytime you have a loss it’s definitely emotional,” Tech
head coach Kristy Curry said. “Obviously they’re upset, I think you tell from
both of these they’ve had tears in their eyes, so we all have. As a competitor
you want to win every game and we came up short tonight.”
Texas Tech (17-12, 5-12 in Big 12 Conference play) came out
of the gate and got a quick basket from Chynna Brown
with just 18 seconds ran off the clock.
The Lady Raiders would hold onto the lead for just nine
seconds before Oklahoma’s Morgan Hook buried one of her three 3-pointers of the
night giving the Sooners a 3-2 lead with 19 minutes and 33 seconds left in the
Oklahoma (19-10, 11-6) proceeded to rattle off an 11-2 run
before Tech was able to respond with a small run of its own.
The Lady Raiders tried time and time again to get back into
the game, but the closest they would get to taking the lead back was with 6:57
left in the first half when Casey Morris drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at
This would mark the last time in the game that Tech would
knot it up with the Sooners as Oklahoma took a 32-29 lead into halftime and
never relinquished the lead ever again.
“I was really proud of our kids, I thought we really fought
and we knew this Tech team would be ready and they would be aggressive, had a
lot on the line as we all do in these final conference games,” Oklahoma head
coach Sherri Coale said. “Tech gave us everything we
wanted and then some, I just thought our kids responded really well. We’ve been
working on responding than reacting and I thought we did a nice job of that
Tech tried to tie up the game or grab the lead in the second
half multiple times but every time the Lady Raiders would draw close,
Oklahoma’s Aaryn Ellenberg seemed to answer for the
Sooners every time on the other end to maintain a comfortable lead.
The sophomore recorded her first career double-double
going 7-for-14 from the field for 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. 10 of her
rebounds came on the defensive end.
After the game Ellenberg said the ball was just falling
right into her hands all night long.
Ellenberg was not alone on the scoring front for the Sooners
as Whitney Hand and Morgan Hook contributed 17 and 15 points, respectively.
They have learned how to play more as a unit, Ellenberg
said, and especially when things are not going their way they play as a team to
stay in it.
“I think we’ve learned to stick through everything, fight
with each other,” she said. “We’ve had really tough ones, and we’ve had some
really good ones where we’ve played well we’ve played bad. Overall just
learning to play together and just really stick with each other when things
aren’t going right.”
With the Sooners having everything going their way, the same
could not be said for the Lady Raiders as shots continued to not fall as
Oklahoma’s lead grew larger and larger.
Despite Casey Morris going for 19 points and Shauntal Nobles
and Barncastle going for 11 each, it wasn’t enough to slow down the freight
train that was the Sooners on Wednesday night.
Oklahoma continued it to pile it on and with 1:45 left in
the game the Sooners were able to pull away completely with a 13-point lead in
hand, the largest of the game, and seal the 71-62 victory behind trips to the
“We had a couple
mental breakdowns, I don’t think there’s any question, you can think of two
different three’s on inbounds that we gave up,” Curry said. “We had a couple
mental breakdowns defensively, but you’re going to have that at times, you just
have to get a make on the other end. If you miss shots, you certainly got to go
get stops. We couldn’t combine enough of that with missed shots.”
At the end of the night Tech attempted more shots, more free
throws and forced 10 more turnovers than it committed but it all came down to
the fact that the Sooners made more shots than them in the end.
The final step for the Lady Raiders in the 2011-2012 regular
season will be to make a trip to the Little Big Apple
to take on the Kansas State Jayhawks on Saturday in the regular season finale
for both teams.
After that it will be on to the Big 12 Championships in
Kansas City, which begin on March 7.
With all of this ahead of the team and her career coming to
a close, Barncastle said she wants to finish on a high note and believes the
team can do the same no matter what is thrown at them in the next few weeks.
“Just go out strong, nobody likes to end their career on a
low,” Barncastle said. “Go to K-State do something we haven’t done there
before, win there. Bump us up, get a couple wins in the tournament, win the
tournament and then go from there. Whatever the future holds, I think if we
stay who we are and stay true to our character I think either way we’ll be
successful and it’ll be a positive experience.”