Texas Tech basketball: Lady Raiders welcome NaLyssa Smith, Baylor to United Supermarkets Arena

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The path forward for the Texas Tech women's basketball team doesn't get any easier this week.

The Lady Raiders return home after a two-game road trip to face No. 11 Baylor on Wednesday in the first of consecutive games at United Supermarkets Arena. Tech fell 71-57 to Kansas on Saturday, its second loss in a row.

The Lady Raiders were dealt a "heartbreaking" loss three days earlier, with Aja Holmes' 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining giving TCU a 51-50 win.

Tech coach Krista Gerlich said the hurt from the Horned Frogs game carried over into a lackluster performance against Kansas, which included a third quarter Gerlich called "probably" the team's worst of the season.

Garcia: Win over Texas shows how high Lady Raiders basketball can reach

Texas Tech's head coach Krista Gerlich directs her players from the bench at the game on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.
Texas Tech's head coach Krista Gerlich directs her players from the bench at the game on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Still, the coach believes her team has the resiliency to refocus for a Baylor team that has won three straight.

"It just looked discombobulated throughout the entire game," Gerlich said of the Kansas loss. "… I don't think that they handled that loss against TCU as well as they should have, and (that includes) all of us. It was pretty brutal. But I do think that our kids are very resilient, and I think they're very upset with the opportunities that they're missing. …

"I know that this group will respond to that. I know that they will step up."

Vivian Gray scored a game-best 32 points on 10-of-22 shooting Saturday, hitting 12 of 16 attempts from the free-throw line. But Tech didn't get much offensive support behind her, with Rhyle McKinney next on the team with seven points. The Lady Raiders were 40.8% from the floor.

Kansas had 27 points off 18 Tech turnovers, an issue Gerlich said the team can't have against the Bears.

Baylor is coming off an 87-61 victory over then-No. 7 Iowa State. Gerlich called it one of the best games the Bears have played this season.

More: No. 13 Texas Tech falls in double OT to No. 5 Kansas on road

Jordan Lewis led Baylor with 24 points. She was one of four Bears with at least 14 points. That included All-America forward NaLyssa Smith, who chipped in 17.

Smith, the Big 12 Conference's second-leading scorer, averages 20.2 points per game. The reigning conference player of the year is certainly the catalyst, but Gerlich said Baylor has multiple offensive threats.

"She's just such a gifted athlete," Gerlich said of the 6-foot-4 Smith. "And she can really score in the paint. She's just so strong and athletic and can rise above you. She's extending her game onto the perimeter. … She's the total package."

The Bears, who are under first-year coach Nicki Collen, have had the same starting lineup in all 17 games. Gerlich said Baylor doesn't dip much into its bench, evidenced by the Bears' use of eight players Saturday, one who played only two minutes.

More: Photos: No. 13 Texas Tech at No. 5 Kansas, Jan. 24

Tech has had no such luxury, battling injury and illness throughout the season. Bre'Amber Scott, who has been solid when on the court, is not expected back anytime soon. The junior guard transfer from Arkansas-Little Rock has missed the past four games with an illness.

Scott, who has played in five games, is second on the team with 10.8 points per game. She didn't make her Tech debut until Dec. 20 because of injury.

"Bre'Amber is still day-to-day," Gerlich said. "And actually it'll be still a little while before she's back. But she's doing well, and we're anxious for her to get back with us."

No. 11 Baylor at Texas Tech

BIG 12 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: United Supermarkets Arena

Records: Baylor 13-4, 3-2; Texas Tech 9-9, 2-5

Radio: 107.7 FM

Game coverage: Follow @byStephenGarcia on Twitter for live updates, with postgame recap and interviews on lubbockonline.com.

Big 12 standings

Team, conference, overall

Iowa State 5-2, 16-3

Oklahoma 5-2, 16-3

Kansas State 5-2, 15-4

Texas 4-2, 14-3

Baylor 3-2, 13-4

Kansas 3-3, 12-4

TCU 2-4, 6-9

West Virginia 2-4, 9-7

Texas Tech 2-5, 9-9

Oklahoma State 1-6, 6-10

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech basketball: Lady Raiders to host NaLyssa Smith, Baylor

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