Powered by 17 points from guard Bailey Maupin and 13 points and seven rebounds from senior Bre'Amber Scott, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders defeated UTEP 67-54 Thursday night in the opening round of the WNIT.
With the victory, Texas Tech (19-14) advances to the second round of the WNIT where the Mustangs of SMU await on Monday night at 6 p.m.
Tech got off to strong start Thursday, as seven quick points from Scott and eight more points from Rhyle McKinney, got the Lady Raiders off to a 25-13 lead after 10 minutes of play. McKinney finished with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes.
After UTEP (20-12) scored the first basket of the second quarter to pull to within 25-15 with 8:57 to play in the first half, Tech scored seven of the next eight points to take a 33-16 lead with 4:37 to play in the second quarter.
The two sides traded baskets over the next two minutes of action, until UTEP answered with the final six points to cut the Tech lead to 37-26 at the break.
In the third, Tech used a triple from Katie Ferrell to pull ahead 40-26 with 9:37 left in the quarter, but the Miners scored 14 of the next 19 points to get to within 45-40 with 2:18 to play in the third.
Six quick points by the Lady Raiders increased the lead back to 51-40, but UTEP used four quick points to crawl back to 51-44.
With four seconds left in the third, Tech used a pair of free throws from guard Bryn Gerlich to take a 53-44 lead into the fourth.
In the fourth, UTEP opened with back-to-back baskets to cut the Tech advantage to 53-48. But an and-one from Scott closed a 5-0 run that pushed the Tech lead to 58-48 with 6:41 to play.
UTEP closed to within seven points (58-51) with 4:37 to play, but a clutch jumper from Maupin put Tech back ahead by nine.
The Miners got to within eight with 1:37 before one last Maupin triple jumpstarted a final 5-0 run that closed out the 67-54 win.
Three Lady Raiders reached double figures led by Maupin's 17. UTEPs Erin Wilson scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Miners. Wilson was the only UTEP player to reach double figures.
In the win, Tech led for 39 minutes and 47 seconds.
COACH SPEAK HC KRISTA GERLICH:
"It Felt great to get a postseason win on our home court, and what an amazing crowd tonight. I'm super proud of Lady Raider nation for showing up for these girls, and so proud of these girls. we're trying to extend our season and I thought that they did such a great job today of coming out in the first quarter and really setting the tone. This was one of the hardest games I've ever had to coach against. Kevin Baker means so much to me; I knew his kids would not lie down. They continued to fight and made it a very close game. I'm just proud that these girls hung through, came through and just did a great job of closing out a game. So, we're excited to get this win and looking forward to moving on to round two."
With the victory, Tech moves on to the second round of the WNIT tournament where another in-state rival awaits in SMU. Tip-off from Lubbock is set for 6 p.m. on Monday.
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