LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech redshirt freshman guard Minta Spears scored a career-high 25 points but Arizona State hit better than 54 percent from the field and held off the late comeback to hand Tech its first loss of the season, 85-77, on Sunday at United Spirit Arena.
It’s the first loss for head coach Candi Whitaker this season. The Lady Raiders were vying to be just the 13th team in program history to start a season 3-0.
Junior Amber Battle scored in double digits for the third time this season, posting 15 and eight rebounds while freshman Marina Lizarazu scored a career-high 18 points.
“Tough fought game, wish we could have come up on top, but can’t give away 85 points,” Whitaker said. “We need to look at the film and see how we can get better on both ends of the floor. I thought Minta did a nice job of finding ways to get to the foul line and thought Marina did a nice job of finding some people and some scoring opportunities.”
Tech (2-1) accumulated 23 fouls along with 26 by Arizona State (2-1). Battle left the game with two fouls in the first half and never returned until the second half. All eight of her rebounds came in the second half as the Lady Raiders and Sun Devils traded leads eight times and tied the game 10 times alone in the final 20 minutes.
“Amber’s a big key to having success on this team,” Whitaker said. “Not just offensively but defensively and defensive rebounds. She’s got to stay on the floor.”
Lizarazu turned from passer to scorer, hitting 7 of 8 from the field – mostly from driving the lane. That helped Tech take as much as a four-point lead midway through the second half. But the Lady Raiders couldn’t slam the door on ASU’s offense and never got up by more than two points the remainder of the game.
The Sun Devils pulled away with a 7-1 run that gave them a 76-70 lead with two minutes left.
The Lady Raiders will spend the rest of the week recuperating and preparing for a 2 p.m. game on Saturday at home with Grambling State (1-2) before heading off to the Barclays Center Invitational during Thanksgiving Week.
“We’re gong to learn from this and we’re going to grow from this,” Whitaker said. “We’re going to look at the film and we’ll continue to work to be better everyday. So that’s our message from our staff to our team. They’re great kids and they’re going to work at it and they’re going to keep getting better.”