It was a slow start for the Lady Raiders in their home opener of the 2012-2013 season as Texas Tech struggled to get shots to fall early, but eventually got rolling in its 20-point victory against Lipscomb on Sunday inside the United Spirit Arena.
"We just had to keep shooting, because we knock it down in practice," Tech senior Christine Hyde, who finished the game with six points and a team-best 10 rebounds, said. "We shoot the lights out in practice. So, you know, when they're like ‘well, I'm gonna' stop shooting'—no. Don't stop shooting, keep shooting, because it's gonna' go down. You know what I mean? You get in the gym, you practice every day. I can't even tell you how much shooting we did in the off season, so I was confident in every single one of them to shoot the ball."
Tech head coach Kristy Curry credited the 61-41 win to the simple fact of the team being able to get everyone on the floor involved in the game.
"Any time we have fifteen assists, seven turn overs, two to one ratio, you've got to be pleased," Curry said. "I thought we did a great job of sharing the basketball today."
Unlike in the Lady Raiders (2-1) loss to the Lobos on Thursday, Tech turned in a much better performance defensively causing havoc for the Lady Bison.
Tech forced 23 turnovers, compared to the 21 against the Lobos, but the most notable stat was what the Lady Raiders did with said turnovers.
In the loss to New Mexico, the Lady Raiders cashed in for 20 points off turnovers, while the Lobos had 20 as well, but against Lipscomb (0-3), Tech scored 28 points off of turnovers while the Lady Bison only got two.
"I think, you know, you can always control the defensive end in rebounding and that's just with great energy and great effort," said Curry. "So, it was pleasing to see that, I thought our hands were really active at great ball pressure, a lot of good things defensively. Really thought they really worked well together on the defensive end as well."
Despite the Lady Raiders turning in a 20-point win, at moments Lipscomb got close, but Tech was able to answer.
With five minutes left in the game, the Lady Bison were able to cut the lead down to just 11, 47-36, but the Lady Raiders promptly extended it back to a 17-point advantage thanks to the long-range shooting of senior Monique Smalls.
Smalls finished the game going 5-for-7 from the field and 4-for-6 from behind the arc to lead the team with 14 points and said shooting from three-point range is all about confidence and everyone has that in her when she steps behind the line.
"That's just having confidence from my teammates," she said. "They've always put confidence in me and they are always telling me to shoot it, especially from the coaching staff. And so, hitting those threes and came back on defense, what happened we had a good possession; we had a steal coming back down from Chynna. And, it's like, those are the kinds of things that no matter what it is, if I do a good assist or I do a good pass or someone scores, our defense is gonna' be unstoppable."
The 41 points the Lady Raiders gave up, mark the fewest surrendered by Tech since holding Iowa State to that same amount in a 51-41 victory on February 12 in Lubbock, and with that in mind Curry said she is pleased with this performance overall by her team.
"I thought it was consistently our best effort so far this season," she said, "and I think with great energy and great effort, on the defensive end, it obviously carries over to great things on the offensive end. I know we missed some shots, but I love the mentality that we were still aggressive and kept shooting it and shared the ball like we did."
The next game for the Lady Raiders is against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (1-1) at 6:00 here in Lubbock in the United Spirit Arena on Friday.