Lady Raiders snap 21-game winning streak
By Matt Larsen
The Lady Bears tasted defeat for the first time since Nov. 16 at Connecticut, and the Huskies reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the nation as Baylor fell to No. 3 after losing a road contest to unranked Texas Tech 56-45 Saturday.
“I think we got good looks,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “We just missed shots.”
The team that normally shoots 47 percent from the field, went 15-58 for a 25.9 percent FG percentage against the Lady Raiders.
The loss snaps what was the nation’s longest current win streak at 21 games, one many thought could have extended well past conference play.
“We still have the same goals,” sophomore post Brittney Griner said. “We’re going to learn from this game and get in the gym.”
Whether the Lady Raiders caused Griner to adjust her shot or the 6-foot-8 post just had an off night, something was not quite right for the team’s leading scorer.
Tech held Griner to 15 points, her lowest in Big 12 play.
She averages 22.3 points a contest.
Griner’s biggest highlight came in the first half when she managed her first dunk of the season, dropping a one-handed slam to tie the game at 19.
When the nation’s eighth-best scorer was held to a similar 17 points at Texas A&M Jan. 30, the Lady Bears turned to freshman point guard Odyssey Sims.
Sims led her team to a 63-60 win in College Station with 25 points (the only time in Big 12 play Griner hasn’t led the team in points).
In Lubbock, however, the freshman couldn’t seem to drive the lane like she had against the Aggies.
The team’s leading 3-point threat also couldn’t find her shot from outside.
Sims sank just one of her 10 attempts from the field and went 0-4 from behind the arc. She finished the night with three points and went 1 of 2 from the free throw line.
The Lady Raiders made use of a press but neither coach believed the press directly made the difference in the game.
“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,” Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said. “You could tell that that was really affecting them.”
Mulkey credited Tech with the defensive strategy of slowing down her team’s offense, but believes the opportunities to score were still there.
“They played a little 2-3 [zone], slowed the pace down. We just missed shots,” Mulkey said. “You’re going to get looks in a zone; we’ve just got to hit shots.
The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coach also said her team executed the same way it normally does on the defensive end.
“You hold a team to 58 points, you’re going to win a lot of basketball games,” she said.
Mulkey said the loss changes little in the greater scheme of things.
“Heavens yes,” she said when asked about whether goals will stay the same. “We’re still playing for a championship.”