The Lady Raiders (12-4, 2-2) take on the Texas Longhorns (7-8, 0-4) tonight In Austin, TX at the Frank Erwin Center at 7pm CST. The Lady Raiders are coming off a loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in a road game on Saturday, Jan 12th. It was a frustrating game for the Lady Raiders. They came out cold and let the Sooners gets ahead by 6 points but then Texas Tech battled back and tied the game. Then the game went back and forth with Tech heading into half-time ahead by 1pt. Both teams came out slow in the 2nd half and neither scored for the first 2 minutes. The Sooners warmed up first and pulled away by 11 pts. The Lady Raiders rallied and came back and got within 4 points but the Sooners hit two 3-Ptrs and got a layup and then all Tech could do was start to foul the Sooners to try and win the game. The Sooners would have none of that. They hit all five of the Free-throw attempts. Tech got beat in Norman 55-65.
The game tonight with the Longhorns will be the 89th time these teams have met. UT leads the series 61-27. The Lady Raiders and the Longhorns split the games last season with each winning on their home court. But Tech beat UT in the Big12 tourney in March 2012. The Longhorns hold a 29-6 lead over the Lady Raiders when the games are played in Austin. Tech has not beat UT in Austin since Feb 2006.
The Lady Raiders are getting into a habit of coming out slow and then battling back. They need to come out aggressive and hit their FGs each and every time if they are to compete in the Big12 and if they are to beat the Longhorns tonight. I do like that the Lady Raiders have improved their Free-throws and are averaging 83% completions. Tech's FT% in the 1st half against OU was 87.5% but then they only completed 16.7% in the 2nd half. The Lady Raiders are falling short on FGs and 3-Ptrs with only 41.4% FG% and 34.7% 3-Pt FG%. Tech again will be in the disadvantage on height, since the UT Center is 6' 7" and their forward is 6' 1", so Kelsi Baker, Christine Hyde and Jackie Patterson will need to be great on the boards and make the points on the inside if Tech is to win this game. Casey Morris will need to be accurate on their outside shots especially their 3-Ptrs. The Lady Raiders will have to focus on their set-ups and field-goal attempts and play their best defense if they want this win in Austin.
The Longhorns are number one in the Big 12 in Rebounding Offense (47.7) and have a Rebounding Margin of +12.2. UT is tied at the top of the Big 12 in Blocked Shots. Texas has lost their last 6 games and they will be desperate to pull out a win on their home-court. Players to watch for are Junior Guard Chassidy Fussell who averages 16.2 PPG and has an 85.7% FT%. The other player to keep an eye on is Sophomore Forward Nneka Enemkpali who earns 14.1 points per game and 10.4 Rebounds/game. Even though UT has a height advantage on Texas Tech, they have been slow across the floor and are on the bottom of the Big12 stats on Turnovers and Steals.
Texas Tech leads the Big 12 Conference in total steals with 191 in 16 games (11.94 per game). Texas Tech is currently in the 6th place in the Big12 standings. The Lady Raiders lead the Big 12 and are #16 in the Nation with a +6.38 turnover. The Lady Raiders have dominated their opponents by outscoring them an average of 14.6pts per game. Tech's FT% is currently 81.3%. Coach Kristy Curry is in her 7th season and her current record at Texas Tech is 121-91 and but is only 5-9 against the Longhorns.
The Longhorns' Head Coach, Karen Aston is in her 1st season with Texas. Her career record is 101-63. She was the Head Coach at Charlotte for 4 years (86-44) and one year at North Texas (15-16). Previously she was an Assistant Coach under Jody Conradt for 8 years.
The Starting Lineups:
G Monique Smalls Averages 8.1 Pts and has 32 Steals
G Casey Morris Averages 11.8 Pts and has a 77.8% FT%
G Chynna Brown Averages 9.6 Pts and has 29 Steals
F Christine Hyde Averages 10.1 Pts and 5.5 Rebounds/game
F Kelsi Baker Averages 10.5 Pts and 5.3 Rebounds/game
University of Texas
G Empress Davenport Averages 7.4 Pts and 4.3 Rebounds/game
G Ashley Roberts Averages 5.4 Pts and 2.0 Rebounds/game
G Chassidy Fussell Averages 16.2 Pts and has a 85.7% FT%
F Nneka Enemkpali Averages 14.1 Pts and 10.4 Rebounds/game
C Imani Stafford-McGee Averages 10.2 Pts and has 38 Blocks
Casey Morris leads the team with 2.6 steals per game and is third in the Big 12. Morris also leads in the Big12 in minutes played (552 - 34.5 avg.).
Monique Smalls climbed up to No. 4 all-time in steals at Texas Tech (285) and No. 5 all-time in assists (449).
The Big 12 is No. 1 in conference RPI in both CBN and Sagarin ratings.
The Big 12 is one of just two leagues that have seven teams ranked in the top 50 of the Jan. 14 NCAA RPI.
Eighty percent of Big 12 squads have reached double-figure wins. Only one other league has at least 80 percent of teams with double-digit victories.
Seven current Big 12 coaches have reached 300 NCAA women's basketball career wins.
The game will only be broadcast on the Longhorn Network (LHN)
To listen to the game go to TexastechTV (http://www.texastech.com/allaccess/)
The game can be heard on the radio 93.7 FM (Lubbock and on the Texas Tech Sports Network (www.TexasTech.com) and KVET-AM 1300 "The Zone."
Live stats will be available on Gametracker at www.texassports.com/gametracker.
Gamethread goes up at 6:45pm