Chasing down missed shots was how the majority of the first
half of play between Texas Tech and Illinois was spent until both teams started
to find a rhythm, especially the Lady Raiders in the final five minutes.
Tech (7-1), trailing 18-14 with five minutes and 21 seconds
left in the first half, spent the rest of the time on a 16-4 run taking an
eight-point lead into the locker room and never looking back in the 75-56
victory on Wednesday night inside the United Spirit Arena.
“I think we got some easy baskets in transition, we did a
great job getting some quick looks and knocking those down,” Tech head coach
Kristy Curry said referring to the run at the end of the first half. “We want
to be aggressive in transition and we were able to get some easy looks. If we
can keep them from scoring, that’s going to help our transition game get off to
a good start.”
The Lady Raiders offensive push in the second half was
fueled by senior guard Chynna Brown, who had one of her best games of the
The Dallas native found her stroke giving the Lady Raiders a
20-18 lead in the first half with one of her three three-pointers in the game
en route to a 21-point performance, a new season-high.
Brown’s previous season-high was against New Orleans on
November 25, with 11 points.
It was in shoot around when the senior started to feel a
rhythm, Brown said, and it was nice to get a night like this, but she really
didn’t do anything different.
“Really not to much of anything,” she said. “Just trying to
come out and be aggressive, knock down shots, get open when my teammates are
trying to get the ball to me. Just trying not to think about it as much, just
shoot when I was open.”
Along with Brown, seniors Christine Hyde, Casey Morris and
junior Kelsi Baker also reached the double-digit plateau, scoring 12, 11 and 16,
With four Lady Raiders reaching double-digits, Tech has now
had three or more players reach double-digits in six of its seven games this
season and this marks the third game where four Tech players have done it.
That kind of balance is exactly what Curry wants out of her
team and said it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s happening.
“It was incredible,” she said. “Maybe Christine (Hyde)
didn’t have her 25-point night and maybe (Monique Smalls) didn’t have her
double-digits but it seems like somebody always steps up. I’ve said it all
along, we’ve got to have great balance and I mentioned earlier in the week and
this is something we have is our bench.
“So our bench was really big, it might not show up in the
stat line, but I thought they brought great energy.”
For Illinois (4-4), the Fighting Illini were only able to get three players
into double-digits with junior Amber Moore leading the way with 21 points,
going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
Senior Karisma Penn contributed 12 points in the Fighting
Illini’s 2011 loss to the Lady Raiders and had another solid night on Wednesday
with an 18-point performance.
Other than Penn and Moore, the Fighting Illini had only one
other player in double digits, Ivory Crawford, 11, and then the next closest
was Alexis Smith with five points.
First-year Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said his squad
needed to be better off the bench but just didn’t have it but overall felt his
team fought better than in previous games.
“Disappointed with the loss, I felt like our kids fought for
longer periods of time, we’ve been asking them to fight and grow,” he said.
“But this is a good basketball team on their home court and we didn’t have
enough to get it done tonight.”
The Lady Raiders now have an 11-day break before their next
game on December 16 against Northern Colorado; first tip set for 2 p.m. inside
Between now and then Curry said the goal during the break is
to continue to get better and not be satisfied with where they stand right now.
“I think one thing that’s very important is that we not get
complacent,” she said. “I think New Mexico was a great experience for us and we
don’t need it to take that to happen and during the break we’ve got to get
better and that’s our job as coaches. We’ll give them two days off, because
academics is most important and we’ll come back Saturday and continue to get