In a rematch of last season’s second-round NCAA Tournament game, #6 Texas Tech again got the best of the #18 UCSB women’s basketball team.
The Lady Raiders (3-0) defeated the Gauchos 68-41 Thursday night in the semifinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. Senior guard Jia Perkins torched Santa Barbara with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists.
UCSB (2-1) stayed tough early with the Lady Raiders, rushing out of the gate and controlling a 7-5 lead. Perkins then led Texas Tech on a 9-0 run and the Lady Raiders never looked back.
Junior forward Kristen Mann kept Santa Barbara in the game, pulling down eight first-half rebounds and UCSB cut the Texas Tech lead to 16-13. But that would be the closest the Gauchos would get.
The lady Lady Raiders outscored the Gauchos 16-9 to close out the half, with Perkins leading the way for Texas Tech with 11 first-half points. Senior center Lindsay Taylor led Santa Barbara with seven points.
Texas Tech pulled away to start the second half, as fatigue set in for Santa Barbara, outscoring the Gauchos 24-10. Santa Barbara shot a woeful 15 percent from the field and Texas Tech outscored UCSB by 17 points in the second half.
The game featured two John R. Wooden candidates in Texas Tech’s Perkins and UCSB’s Taylor. Taylor finished with a team-high 12 points to go with six rebounds. Mann finished with four points and 12 rebounds while Brandy Richardson added eight points and five boards for Santa Barbara.
Texas Tech out-rebounded Santa Barbara 36-34, forced 19 turnovers and held the Gauchos to 24 percent shooting from the field. The Lady Raiders advance to play Rutgers in the championship of the WNIT on Sunday and will be televised on ESPN2.
There was one bright note for the Gauchos, however. Santa Barbara extended its streak of 106 consecutive games holding an opponent under 50 percent shooting from the field. Texas Tech finished the game, shooting 37 percent after averaging just above 42 percent during the first two games of the season.
The 27-point loss was the most lopsided since a 107-74 defeat at the hands of the University of Arizona during the second game of 1997-98 season.
UCSB hosts Arizona on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome.