McKinney’s 21 isn’t enough as Tech falls to JSU

LUBBOCK, Texas— Despite a strong 21-point performance as a sophomore Rhyle McKinneyThe Texas Tech Lady Raiders fell 69-63 to Jackson State in the opening game of the preseason WNIT tournament Tuesday night at the United Supermarkets Arena.

McKinney’s 21-point total tied her career high almost a year ago against Weber State (Nov. 16, 2021).

The difference in competition was an 11-4 run by the visitors in the fourth quarter, extending a 51-49 deficit from Texas Tech (1-1) 9-28 to 62-53 3-28.

Other strong performances for Tech included 12 points and five rebounds from freshman Bailey Maupin and seven points and five rebounds down Ella Tofaeono. Maupin has now reached double digits in both games of her Lady Raider career.

Jackson State (1-2) placed three in double figures as Rutgers transfer Liz Martino lost 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from long range.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

The Lady Raiders used a quick 9-0 run to open a 15-10 lead with 3:50 to play in the first quarter. The run was highlighted by a three-point play from Tofaeono, but JSU quickly responded with a 5-0 sprint to tie the contest at 15-15 with 3:34 to play in the opening quarter.

After the two teams traded buckets, a Maupin jumper gave the Lady Raiders a 19-17 lead with 57 seconds left, but JSU used a Miya Crump free throw to play the Tech lead to 19-18 after a quarter to reduce.


The Lady Raiders scored the first nine points of the second half to open a game-high 28-18 lead with 6:03 left, but the Lady Tigers answered the tech run with a 13-1 clutch breakout into the next four minutes of action to regain the lead with 66 tickets to play.


Jazmaine Lewis Quickly responded with two free throws and a second-chance layup for Tech with a 33-31 advantage after 20 minutes.


Lewis’ four points broke a nearly five-minute scoreless stretch.


After the break, Tech opened the half with six of the first 10 points to play a 39-35 lead with 6:24.


As they had been doing all night, Jackson State responded, using a 3-pointer from Martino to start a 9-1 run that gave the visitors a 44-41 lead with 2:24 to play.


McKinney quickly responded with a three to level the game at 44-all, but JSU scored the last three points to take a 47-44 lead into fourth place.


In the fourth, JSU scored nine of the first 11 points to give it a 56-49 lead, 7-19.


A fastbreak layup by Maupin put the Lady Raiders 58-53, but a quick 7-2 run by guard Daja Woodard put the Tigers 10 points ahead with just 72 seconds to play.


The Lady Raiders picked up back-to-back triples Tatum Veitenheimer and McKinney to pull within 69-63 with 23 seconds remaining but couldn’t get any closer.


In the other preseason WNIT game, played on Tuesday, Colorado rolled past Louisiana 73-43.


The Lady Buffs and Lady Raiders play tomorrow at 7 p.m. while JSU plays Louisiana at 4:30 p.m


COACH SPEAK (HC KRISTA GERLICH):
“It was obviously a disappointing defeat for us. We had some moments tonight where we played really well. Sometimes we defended well, followed our game plan and played well offensively. Then there were moments when we had too many dry spells. Where we had consecutive turnovers or empty possessions. And then we couldn’t get stops where we needed them. I thought we had some young kids playing some big minutes that will help us along the way. We had to make some adjustments this week because of injuries but I know these kids can stick together and get through it. It’s disappointing that it didn’t happen tonight. So we need to turn around quickly and get ready for a really good Colorado team.”


On the teams fights from 3 point range:
“We shot the ball pretty well against Corpus Christi and I think we can shoot it from the three-point line better than tonight. We certainly didn’t put down any shots too early in the first half, but we found other ways to score… Towards the end of the second half we just couldn’t loosen it up. They started switching picks, which was fine, but when we had open looks we just couldn’t get them to go down. As a team we have to knock 3 point shots down and the ones we make count”


About tomorrow’s matchup against Colorado:
“We need to pull ourselves together and reevaluate what we want to do offensively against Colorado. They’re a different team and a completely different matchup, so it’s going to be a different strategy. But we have to have some. People hit the ball off the sidelines. You know, you have to score to win for sure, so we have to do that a little bit better.


WITHIN THE BOXSCORE:
• The first quarter got off to a flying start as the two teams combined scored 20 points in the first four minutes and eight seconds of play.
• After Maupin scored 11 points in the opening game, he scored 12 points tonight.
• Tech was outplayed 34-16 on Tuesday night.
• The Lady Raiders racked up 18 offensive rebounds Tuesday, the most in a game since Tech 17 vs. WVU on Jan. 12.
• McKinney recorded her second 20-point game of her career.
• The guard made her first three shots tonight, meaning she had her first eight tries of the season.
• After eight steals in the opener, Tech added another five tonight.
• Tonight was the first-ever matchup between Texas Tech and JSU.


NEXT:
The Lady Raiders return tomorrow night for the aforementioned contest against Colorado. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The game will be the fourth and final game in Lubbock for this year’s WNIT preseason.



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