By: Travis Cram - Director of Multimedia
LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech junior guard Amber Battle scored 19 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season as Tech nearly closed a 20-point deficit in the second half against Kansas, falling 70-62 on Saturday at United Spirit Arena.
“I thought we fought back and gave ourselves a chance, just couldn’t close the gap,” Tech head coach Candi Whitaker said. “We had some offensive boards in the second half for a period there that really hurt us and some poor rotations … Just felt like we missed some key layups and free throws that we needed to beat a team like Kansas.”
Tech (6-15, 0-10 Big 12) found ways to stick within a point or two in the first half and eventually took a 22-21 lead on one of Battle’s jumpshots with 9:49 to go. Then Kansas rattled off an 11-1 run led by junior Chelsea Gardner, who scored 22 of the Jayhawks’ 41 first-half points to give them a 13-point advantage at the break.
Gardner finished with a game-high 34 points – the most by an individual against Tech this season.
Kansas (11-11, 4-6) would find ways to outside shots with Tech’s defensive focus on Gardner in the opening minutes of the second half and took a 50-30 lead with 15:45 to play.
That’s when Tech’s offense turned it up a notch.
Tech freshman guard Marina Lizarazu and senior center Haley Schneider gave the Lady Raiders a spark off the bench to begin charge. Then redshirt freshman Minta Spears hit back-to-back 3-pointers – her second and third of the afternoon – and suddenly Tech was on an 11-0 run and within nine points of Kansas.
Schneider would end the day with a career-high six blocks – the most by a Lady Raider since Kierra Mallard tallied seven in 2011 at Oklahoma.
Lizarazu’s mid-court steal and layup made it a three-point game at the 7:25 mark and capped a 24-7 scoring spree over an eight-minute span.
But Kansas would seal things at the free-throw line the rest of the way and kept Tech from getting any baskets to tie the game late.
Spears would finish with 13 points – her second-highest total in Big 12 play – while Lizarazu scored 11 of 20 bench points.
“I was really proud of them especially since we got down by so many points,” Spears said. “We’re getting better. We’re competing more often, but it just shows you the importance of making a layup and making your free throws and every play. I think we’re starting to learn that.”
The Lady Raiders now start a two-game road swing at 7 p.m., Wednesday at Texas (14-6, 5-3) before heading to TCU (12-9, 3-6) for a noon game on Feb. 8.
“I just know that we’re getting better every day,” Battle said. “We know that we have to compete every day, and we’re just taking it game by game. We’re going to get one sooner or later and we just have to compete every day.”