WACO, Texas – The Texas Tech Lady Raiders fell to No. 5 Baylor 82-57, Sunday afternoon at the Ferrell Center.
Texas Tech (11-18, 4-14 Big 12) was outscored 41-16 from the 6:49 mark of the first quarter (game was tied 4-4) until the 42 second mark of the second period.
On her senior day projected Big 12 Player of the Year and National Player of the Year candidate NyLyssa Smith scored 35 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Smith played all but 3.4 seconds of action until she was subbed out with less than a minute remaining.
The Lady Raiders placed three in double-figures led by Bryn Gerlich, who finished with a team-high 12 points. Senior Taylah Thomas scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in her 29 minutes of action, when classmate Vivian Gray scored 10 points on just 3-of-17 shooting.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
After the two teams traded baskets over the first three minutes and 11 seconds of action, Baylor used a 16-4 run to grab a 20-8 lead with 1:25 left in the first.
A Gerlich jumper brought the Lady Raiders to within 20-10 at the 1:07 mark of the first quarter, but a Jaden Owens triple with 47 seconds to play gave the fifth-ranked Bears a 23-10 lead after 10 minutes. Owens finished with 13 points on perfect 5-of-5 shooting (3-of-3 3-point).
Another Gerlich jumper kicked off the second period, but Baylor used a 3-pointer from Ja’Mee Asberry to jumpstart a 12-3 run that gave the Bears a 35-15 lead with 4:28 to play in the first half.
A pair of Gray free-throws stopped the bleeding for a moment, but jumpers from Smith and Queen Egbo combined with a pair of 3-pointers gave Baylor its biggest lead of the half at 45-20.
Tech would score the final points of the period on a Thomas jumper, that made the halftime deficit 23 points.
Seven of the first 12 points went the way of Smith and the Bears, as Baylor took a 54-27 lead with 6:11 to play.
Gray’s lone 3-pointer of the afternoon quicky get Tech to within 24, but Baylor closed the third quarter with 10 of the final 16 points to lead 64-36 after three.
Caitlin Bickle’s jumper just 15 seconds into the final quarter of play combined with a Smith jumper 44 seconds later gave Baylor a game-high 68-36 lead.
Rhyle McKinney converted on a layup that sparked an 11-4 Texas Tech run over the next 3:12 that brought the Lady Raiders to within 23 points with 5:27 remaining.
Over the final five minutes and change of action, the two teams each scored eight points, as Baylor went on to win by a final score of 82-57.
COACH SPEAK (HC KRISTA GERLICH):
“Baylor is a really good basketball team and we struggled to guard NyLyssa Smith. In the second half I thought we settled down and executed a little bit better but we just dug ourselves too big of a hole to be able to make a push. Now we just need to regroup and get our minds right because it’s a new season. We need to figure out what our path is going to be and get our kids prepared. “
The Lady Raiders return to action on Thursday afternoon for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Championship as the No. 8 seed. Tech will open play against No. 9 Oklahoma State. Tip-off from historic Municipal Coliseum in Kansas City is set for 5:30 p.m.