Lady Raiders Looking for Win in Ames
Candi Whitaker will lead her Texas Tech Lady Raiders (15-12, 5-10) into Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa this week on a mission: shut down the Iowa State Hurricanes.
Whitaker was the point guard on the only Texas Tech squad to leave Ames, Iowa with a win 13 years ago, beating the Cyclones, 78-66, on their own court.
After winning two Big 12 road games already this season and beating Iowa State at home, 71-58, on Feb. 11, it's a task Whitaker's team appears to be up to when they tip off at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 24.
"We did a good job on them last time," Whitaker said. "I think this team was like that with West Virginia and getting that first road win against them. We know what its like to go into Iowa State. They've got a great environment and they play really well at home. We know that we're going to have to play really well to win and we expect ourselves to play well."
Texas Tech and Iowa State are meeting for the 26th time since meeting for the first time as Big 12 Conference opponents in 1997. The home team has dominated the series overall. Iowa State is 9-1 in Ames while Texas Tech is 8-4 in Lubbock. The Cyclones have won 10 of the last 13 games vs. Texas Tech dating back to 2006 including the last five meetings in Ames.
Tech finds itself on the edge of a postseason berth with just three games to play including two on the road against Iowa State and No. 3 Baylor.
The Lady Raiders have not only improved defensively throughout league play - holding teams to 58.4 points per game - but also shooting from the outside. Tech is 3-3 in Big 12 games when it makes seven 3-pointers or more while shooting 45 percent from the perimeter.
Iowa State (16-10, 7-8) knows a thing or two about outside shooting as well. The Cyclones have hit more threes (230) than any other Big 12 team this season.
But Tech's defense has been up to the task of stopping teams from the outside. Only three Big 12 teams have hit more than five threes in a game against Tech this season while attempting an average of more than 15 per game. The Cyclones hit just 3 of 20 last time against Tech - their lowest total of the season.
The two teams matchup well with one another with each team boasting four - and sometimes five - guards on the floor in their last meeting. But Tech knows it won't be the exact same as it was two weeks ago in Lubbock.
"We can't look back on our game that we won here and say, 'OK, let's just do that again,'" said senior Kelsi Baker, who scored a career-high 19 points on Saturday. "Because in the grand scheme of things, they missed a lot of shots and a lot of easy layups. So we have just as many things that we have to continue to clean up defensively and we just have to execute offensively and run our schemes that our coaches have put in place."
Texas Tech senior Amber Battle now sits at 987 career points after scoring 16 on Saturday against Texas. She is trying to become the 31st Lady Raider to score 1,000 career points and the first since Chynna Brown and Casey Morris did so in 2013.