The No. 25 Bears are struggling at home this season, and this proved to be the case once again against Texas Tech on Saturday.
“You really have to credit Texas Tech for shooting 58 percent. Defensively, I thought they made some tough shots,” said head coach Scott Drew. “I thought we could do some better things defensively. At the end of the day, they earned the win, and they did a good job there defensively. They held us to 44 percent.”
The Bears (18-7, 7-5) went down early, trailing by as many as 10 in the first seven minutes of play.
With the Red Raiders (15-9, 5-7) making hard shots and the Bears struggling to score, Drew was forced to call timeouts.
“They made tough shots and we compounded it by turning it over and allowing them to have advantages on the offensive end, or frustrating us more when we weren’t able to score,” Drew said. “It led into them having more confidence. It’s easier to shoot when you are up 15 or 20.”
With senior forward Rico Gathers back in the Bears’ lineup after sitting out the previous game due to illness, the Bears looked to get back on track, but not even Gathers’ presence on court was enough to overpower the motivated Red Raider team.
“I thought Rico’s effort was very good considering how sick he was and not having a chance to practice,” Drew said. “I was disappointed our bench got outscored 23-14, and that’s been a strong point. In our wins, we’ve always had good bench play.”
With a rare turn of events, the Bears are performing at a higher quality on the road than at home. This may be the result of poor defense, Drew said.
“It’s really easy – when we defend, we win, and when we don’t, we lose,” Drew said. “When we turn it over, we lose, and when we don’t, we win. We have to do those two things.”
The Bears look to turn things around against No. 13 Iowa State at 8 p.m. today at the Ferrell Center.
In their previous meeting this season on the road, the Bears overcame the Cyclones 94-89. However, the Bears know that this time around will be just as difficult.
“Iowa State is a team that scores in runs, they score in bunches,” Drew said. “Things tend to shift so quick when you play them because they score so quickly and so efficiently. I know our guys have played well the last couple times we faced them, and we need that to continue because nobody likes a three-game home losing streak.”
The No. 4 Lady Bears return home after winning two games on the road, most recently against Texas Tech, 66-36 on Saturday.
Although the Lady Raiders (11-13, 2-11) have struggled in conference play this year, they kept it close going into the half, 27-20.
With 13 turnovers, the Lady Bears struggled to protect the ball in the first half. The Lady Bears limited turnovers in the second half by making secure passes and guarding the ball.
The Lady Bears’ run in the third quarter gave them all momentum going into the fourth quarter, said head coach Kim Mulkey.
“Going into the fourth quarter with a 20-something-point lead, I thought you saw a different basketball team than you did at TCU the other night,” Mulkey said. “We took care of the basketball; we made free throws; we defended with effort; we helped each other. So, I think the next day was a very valuable day of teaching.”
With the momentum going their way, the Lady Bears found openings in the paint and capitalized on open shots to extend their lead and give them the win, 66-36.
Although struggling from the line in previous games this season, junior guard Nina Davis came up for the Lady Bears, going 9-9 from the line, earning her a double-double by scoring 21 points and bringing in 12 rebounds.
“I really couldn’t figure out what was going on,” Davis said. “But I just stayed in the gym and just put a lot of free throws. And hey, I went 9-for-9 today, so I think I’m back. Knock on wood.”
With the hopes of a Big 12 championship still alive and in their favor, the Lady Bears look to make it 13 consecutive wins 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.
The Lady Bears (25-1, 12-1) face the only team to have beaten them this season – Oklahoma State.
The No. 25 Cowgirls (19-5, 9-4) shocked the Lady Bears in their opening conference game on the road, 52-45.
With senior guard Niya Johnson out in the previous matchup, the Lady Bears look poised to come out on top this time around.
“She’s like a coach out there on the floor,” Mulkey said. “In the first conference game, when we got beat by Oklahoma State and she didn’t play, that speaks volumes of her value to our team.
“We lost by seven, and she only averages seven points a game, but that is how valuable she is,” Mulkey said.