Lady Raiders open Big 12 play Saturday vs. No. 15 Iowa State

The Preseason Big 12 Favorites Come to Town Saturday
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University(Texas Tech University)
Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 3:07 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) - Riding an 11-game winning streaking and boasting the best record in the Big 12 (12-1), the Texas Tech Lady Raiders welcome No. 15 Iowa State Saturday for the Big 12 opener. Tip-off from United Supermarkets Arena is set for 2 p.m.

Looking for a 12th straight win for the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Lady Raiders will also look to start 1-0 in conference play for the first time since 2014-15.

The New Year’s Eve matchup will also be Raider Red’s house party, as fans in attendance can register to win various prizes including Apple AirPods, a Nintendo Switch, and a 50″ TV.

INSIDE THE MATCHUP:

MATCHUP: Texas Tech Lady Raiders (12-1) vs. No. 15 Iowa State (8-2)

LOCATION: United Supermarkets Arena (Lubbock, Texas)

DATE: Dec. 31, 2022

TIME: 2 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT:

Behind a strong defensive effort that included four players reaching double-figures, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders closed out non-conference play with a wire-to-wire 68-45 victory over Mississippi Valley State Tuesday afternoon at United Supermarkets Arena.

In what turned out to be its 11th straight victory, Texas Tech (12-1) was led by guard Jasmine Shavers’ 12 points and 11 points from Bryn Gerlich.

Nine of Gerlich’s 11 points came in the key second quarter where Tech outscored MVSU (2-9) 24-14.

Ella Tofaeono scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting while Rhyle McKinney chipped in another 10 points.

It was another strong defensive performance, as the Lady Raiders held MVSU to just 15-of-48 shooting (31.3 percent) and to just 1-of-10 shooting in the opening quarter. The Devilettes managed just five first-quarter points en route to 45 total points allowed.

The victory was Tech’s third straight performance allowing 47 points or fewer, marking the first time since the 2004-05 season that the Lady Raiders allowed fewer than 50 points in three straight games.

Tech’s 12 non-conference wins are the most in a season since 2011-12 when the Lady Raiders started 12-0. That season, Tech went 21-14 overall and advanced to the third round of the Postseason WNIT.

KNOW YOUR FOE (IOWA STATE):

Projected to win the Big 12  in the preseason poll, Iowa State enters Saturday’s contest at 8-2 overall and ranked No. 14 in the country. Playing for the first time since Dec. 18 after their game against Drake was canceled due to weather, ISU has played just once since Dec. 12. 

The Cyclones lone two losses occurred to ranked teams, as ISU fell to North Carolina in the Phil Knight Invitational Championship game and to Iowa in the annual Cy-Hawk game. In both losses this season, ISU led at the half. Against UNC, ISU blew a 17-point lead while Iowa overcame a five-point halftime deficit.    

Led by Preseason All-American and Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, Ashley Joens, Iowa State enters the weekend as one of the best offensive teams in the country. The Cyclones rank 21st in the country in scoring offense (80.5) and ninth in the country in 3-point field goals per game (9.8). ISU also ranks 11th in the country in FT percentage (79.3) and 12th in the country in assists per game (18.7).

One of the best players in the country, Joens is averaging 19.3 points and 9.2 rebounds a game. The fifth-year senior has five double-doubles. And while Joens’ return was huge for ISU, the Cyclones also returned Defensive Player of the Year Lexi Donarksi and First Team All-Big 12 Selection Emily Ryan. Donarski averages 10.9 points while Ryan is averaging 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists a game.

In addition to the returns of Joens, Ryan and Donarksi, Iowa State has added an inside presence with the addition of two-time NAIA D-I Player of the Year, Stephanie Soares. A transfer from the Master’s University, Soares scored 1,904 points and grabbed 1,308 rebounds during her three years in Calif. This season, the 6′6″ forward is averaging 15.8 points and 9.3 rebounds and has six double-doubles.  

GAME STORYLINES:

WE’LL TAKE THAT

• Texas Tech has forced 143 turnovers over the last seven contests including a Krista Gerlich Era record 24 vs. Alabama State. As a team, the Lady Raiders have forced 243 turnovers through the season’s first 13 games (18.7). All of last season Tech forced just 396. The Lady Raiders are a perfect 11-0 this season when forcing more than 15 turnovers and have forced at least 20 turnovers five times. Tech did not force at least 20 turnovers in a game at all last season. 

LOOKING FOR 12 STRAIGHT

• With a win Saturday against Iowa State, the Lady Raiders would win their 12th straight game overall. The 12-game winning streak would be the longest since the 2011-12 season when Tech started 14-0. 

 RECEIVING VOTE

• In last week’s USA TODAY Coaches Poll the Lady Raiders received a vote for the top 25 for the first time this season.

LOOKING TO GO 1-0 

• With a win Saturday, Tech would start 1-0 in the Big 12 Conference for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Tech has lost seven straight Big 12 openers. 

MAGIC EIGHT [AND OH] BALL  

• With a win on Saturday vs. Iowa State, the Lady Raiders can close the month of December at 8-0 for just the third time in program history. Tech went 8-0 in both 1983 and 1998. Even with a loss, the Lady Raiders would clinch the fourth-best month of December in school history. Tech went 7-1 during the 1995-96 season.

ONE OF 22

• The Lady Raiders are one of 22 teams at the Division 1 level to have 12 wins against D-I teams this season. The list includes: Alabama (12-2), Arkansas (13-3), Cleveland State (12-1), Duke (12-1) Florida Gulf Coast (12-2), Florida State (12-2), Gonzaga (13-2), Illinois (12-2), Indiana (12-1), LSU (12-0), Michigan (12-1), Mississippi State (12-2), Missouri (12-2), Ohio State (14-0), Ole Miss (12-2), South Carolina (13-0), Stanford (13-1), St. John’s (12-0), Texas Tech (12-1), UCLA (12-1), Utah (12-0) and Virginia (12-1)

BRE’S BACK!  

• Senior Bre’Amber Scott is back for her senior season and is playing at a high level. After missing the first two games of the season due to personal reasons, Scott made her return to the Lady Raider lineup before the Colorado game. Tech is now 10-0 this season in Scott’s 10 games. The guard missed Tech’s game against Mississippi Valley State, after facing travel issues. Scott was dressed for that contest but did not play after pulling into town at around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. The guard is tied for the team-leading points (12.3) and has grabbed a team-best 61 rebounds. Her 6.1 rebounds a game are also the best on the Lady Raider squad.

BIG JAZZ MAKES AN IMPACT

• Houston transfer Jazmaine Lewis has made an immediate impact since transferring to Tech.  After recording just five career games with 10+ points during her 68-game UofH career, Lewis already has seven games with 10+ as a Lady Raider (8 games). Against Sam Houston on Dec. 6, Lewis had one of the most efficient games this season by a Lady Raider, when she scored 17 points in just 12 minutes of action. Lewis is shooting 66.7 percent (46-68) from the field and has set a new career-high for points twice this season (A&M Corpus, Sam Houston). Lewis has scored 114 points in just 185 minutes this season. After shooting around 50 percent from the line as a Cougar, Lewis is shooting 75.9 percent (22-of-29) from the charity stripe this season.

WE MISSED THE BIG KAT

• Grad student Katie “Big Kat” Ferrell made her much-anticipated return to the lineup against Sam Houston. After injuring her hand in practice between the A&M Corpus Christi and Jackson State games, Ferrell missed seven straight games. Ferrell is the only active D-I player in the country to have recorded 500 career points, 500 career assists, and 700 rebounds. Against MVSU, Ferrell nearly had a triple-double without points, as the UTA transfer grabbed six rebounds and seven assists and had five steals. Tech is 6-0 when Ferrel plays and they have outscored opponents by 102 points in her 111 minutes of action this season. 

UP NEXT:

The Lady Raiders return to action on Wednesday night when they travel to No. 25 Kansas. Tip-off from Allen Fieldhouse is set for 7 p.m.