5:00 PM ET, December 3, 2006
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer liked the way her team responded to the challenge of another nationally ranked opponent: the 15th-ranked Cardinal got its first quality win."We've made a lot of improvement in one week," VanDerveer said after Stanford beat Texas Tech 73-49 on Sunday. "I'm excited to come out and play the kind of defense we played, especially in the second half."Candice Wiggins scored 19 points as Stanford won its second straight game following consecutive road losses to top 10 teams Tennessee and Georgia. The Cardinal also lost at home to No. 24 Brigham Young in the second round of the Women's Preseason NIT.Brooke Smith added 14 points as the Cardinal (4-3) won their third straight over the Lady Raiders. Jayne Appel added 11 points, seven rebounds and blocked four shots."This game was important to us," VanDerveer said. "Texas Tech is a top team and we wanted to show we're also a top team."Stanford takes a two-week break before returning to action on Dec. 16 against Utah.Chesley Dabbs and Alesha Richardson each scored nine points to lead Texas Tech (6-3), which lost two in a row for the first time this season."It's extremely disappointing," Dabbs said. "We should never lose to any team by this much."The Lady Raiders hurt themselves with poor shooting to open both halves. They were held to five points in the first 13 minutes and were 2-of-19 from the field to open the second half. They shot just under 29 percent for the game.The teams combined to commit 45 turnovers, with the Lady Raiders turning it over 23 times."I think we've improved a lot over the season," Wiggins said. "I think we're only going to get better and better. This was very promising."Texas Tech's Erin Myrick entered the game averaging 13.1 points and 10.4 rebounds, shooting over 54 percent. She grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds but was limited to 1-of-8 shooting from the floor. Richardson also averaged a double-double."She was our focus defensively," VanDerveer said. "She's a top post player for them. It didn't hurt that she was in foul trouble early."The Lady Raiders returned to the top 25 last week for the first time in almost a year. Texas Tech had been ranked for 248 consecutive weeks prior to opening the season with two wins in its first seven games.First-year coach Kristy Curry has the Lady Raiders back on track after missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years last year."They were able to throw the first punch and we never recovered," Curry said. "For whatever reason things caught up to us. What can I say? Six games in 10 days and we finally ran out of gas."Wiggins triggered Stanford's 21-2 run to open the second half that broke the game open. She connected on a 3-pointer from the corner and followed that with a driving lay-up that led to a three-point play that gave the Cardinal a 57-32 edge.Texas Tech missed its first eight shots but rallied to take a 20-17 midway through the first half.Stanford roared back with a 14-2 run to push its lead to 31-22 en route to a 36-30 halftime advantage.