LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry knows what a win against a top-ranked team can do for her team.
“I thinked we upped our resume today,” Curry said Saturday after the Lady Raiders’ 56-45 win against No. 1 Baylor.
The win snapped the Lady Bears’ 21-game win streak and gave Texas Tech back-to-back victories against top 25 teams. This was the first time a No. 1 team lost to an unranked team since Jan. 26, 2006, when Kentucky beat top-ranked Tennessee 66-63.
Baylor last lost in November to Connecticut.
Casey Morris, who led Texas Tech with 13 points, said the team believed it could win. The Lady Raiders (18-7, 6-6 Big 12), who beat No. 20 Iowa State 61-50 on Tuesday, play their third ranked team Tuesday night at No. 5 Texas A&M.
“I don’t think we ever had a doubt from the beginning,” said the sophomore, who was 4 for 11 from the field, including two 3-pointers. “I think we know we can beat Texas A&M. We know we can beat Baylor – we know we can beat anybody when we play as good as we can. Our team is stacked with talent, so we never doubt ourselves and we always have confidence and I think we just showed it tonight.”
The win evened a loss in Lubbock last year when Brittney Griner was ejected for punching a Texas Tech player.
Griner finished with 15 points and six rebounds to lead Baylor (24-2, 11-1), which finished with season lows in shooting (25.9 percent) and scoring. The Lady Bears averaged 81.7 points coming into the contest.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey lauded Tech’s defense and saw her team lacking spunk.
“We just kept thinking ‘We’re going to shoot better, we’re going to shoot better,’ and we just didn’t move,” she said. “We were just stuck in mud, we didn’t move.”
Texas Tech pressed early and often and stayed mostly with zone defense against Baylor.
“I thought the press wasn’t maybe necessarily getting the steal or getting the turnover but what we were doing was making them run their offense with 20, 21, 22, 23 (seconds) on the clock,” Curry said. “You could tell that that was really affecting them.”
Texas Tech led most of the game, going ahead 52-37 with 5:23 left when Kierra Mallard hit a jumper in the lane. Baylor used a 6-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Melissa Jones and a bucket by Odyssey Sims – her first of the game – to cut the deficit to 52-43.
Christine Hyde got a layup to put the Lady Raiders up 54-43 before Griner hit two free throws to pull within nine. But the Lady Bears were too far behind down the stretch.
Griner struggled in the first half, finishing with seven points and three rebounds, and Baylor looked frazzled. Griner was double teamed often and left the game with 3:20 left in the half after she and Mallard got tangled up under Baylor’s basket.
Each player drew a technical and an official met with Curry and Mulkey at midcourt by the scorers table.
Curry was visibly angry and the official worked to stay wedged between the two coaches. Curry was shouting and pointing her finger at Mulkey before the official sent them back to their respective benches.
“I just didn’t think Kierra deserved the foul,” Curry said.
The Lady Bears got eight points in the paint and were outrebounded 20-19 in the first half. They shot just 26 percent from the field.
Jordan Barncastle, the recipient of Griner’s punch last year in Lubbock, came into the game with 6:44 left in the half and guarded Griner on the Lady Bears’ first possession. They failed to score.
Curry tossed the game ball to Barncastle after the win, later saying, “She deserved that. She only played three minutes today but the bottomline is Jordan is an incredible lady.”
About a minute later, a wide open Griner slammed a two-handed dunk – her first in a game this year – to tie the score at 19. But for the rest of the half Baylor got just two free throws, failing to sink a bucket for 5:31.
Meanwhile the Lady Raiders got nine points to lead 28-21 at halftime. The Lady Bears halftime deficit was their second largest this season and Baylor’s lowest points for a first half since getting 27 against Connecticut in November.