3:00 PM ET, March 5, 2011
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Late-blossoming Texas Tech is enjoying the sweet smell of success.Monique Smalls scored 13 points and the Lady Raiders earned their third victory over a Top 25 team in a month with a 61-56 win over Oklahoma (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) on Saturday.Now they're eyeing the Big 12 tournament."We talked about putting an exclamation point on today," Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry. "It's a brand-new season. We've got a chance to win a championship and we've proven that we can beat the No 1. team in the country. Why can't we go win the Big 12 championship?Two weeks ago at home, the Lady Raiders toppled then-No. 1 Baylor 56-45 and then-No. 20 Iowa State 61-50 three days earlier.Texas Tech snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Sooners.Texas Tech used a 10-2 run to start the second half, including 3-pointers from Kierra Mallard and Christine Hyde, to go up 41-37 with 14:24 remaining in the game. The Lady Raiders led the rest of the way, though Oklahoma pulled within 56-55 on a layup by Nicole Griffin with 1:37 remaining.Texas Tech (21-9, 8-8 Big 12) made 5 of 6 free throws to hang on for the win.The Lady Raiders won despite being outrebounded (42-32) and outshot -- but just barely. The Sooners, who shot 58.3 percent in the first half, made just six field goals in 29 attempts in the second half, or 20.7 percent."We couldn't make shots," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said. "You got to make baskets. You can't win this game if you don't make baskets."Freshmen Aaryn Ellenberg scored 16 points -- 14 in the first half -- and Nicole Griffin added 14 for the Sooners (20-10, 10-6).Coale was thankful the freshmen stepped up."Nicole really battled inside and did some good things and made some tough catches and strong finishes against critical play," she said. Ellenberg, who in the first 20 minutes hit 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, "carried us in the first half."Whitney Hand had 12 rebounds for Oklahoma.Ellenberg went cold in the second half, hitting just one field goal in 11 attempts."I just got to knock shots down, and so do the rest of us," she said. They know we're a really good team and can gain something from beating us. They came out fighting and we should have fought back better."Casey Morris said she and her teammates just had to figure out how to stop Ellenberg."We face-guarded her" in the first half, Morris said. "She got a lot of wide-open shots in the first half and I think it was just because of miscommunication on the court. Sometimes we switched and didn't have our hands up or something. If we get her stopped than their offense is pretty much not going anywhere and Mo [Smalls] was playing Danielle Robinson so well."