WOMEN’s BASKETBALL: Lady Tops roll, get rocked

They wanted to announce their arrival on the national scene.

Maybe it was a little early for that.

Texas Tech treated the Lady Toppers like a younger sibling trying to compete with the older crowd. The Lady Raiders toyed with them early and then never let up on the way to an 88-47 victory Sunday in the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

The loss drops Western to 1-1 after the Lady Tops beat Rhode Island 70-63 Friday in the first round of the tournament.

But Sunday was quite different. After just four possessions Texas Tech (2-0) already led 8-0. And that was only the beginning.

“We’ll go home disappointed with the loss, but we’re pleased to have the opportunity to bring our young team into this atmosphere of big-time basketball,” coach Mary Taylor Cowles said in a press release.

The score was 39-16 at the half and the Lady Raiders just kept pushing.

Jia Perkins led the way for Texas Tech with 18 points. LaToya Davis also produced solid numbers, gaining a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Camryn Whitaker’s 11 points and Carla Bartee’s 10 were the only two Lady Tops in double figures.

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The loss came just two days after Western looked impressive while dismantling Rhode Island.

But it took Western a while to get going. First the Lady Tops had to erase a nine-point halftime deficit, thanks to 27 percent first half shooting.

Senior Elisha Ford broke out with 17 points, and two freshmen played exceptionally in their debuts.

Bartee scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Charlotte Marshall scored 14 points and grabbed 13 boards.

“That’s exactly how you want to start the season,” Cowles said on Friday.

Ford’s 17 points came while she played all 40 minutes.

“I worked hard in the off-season with conditioning,” Ford said. “I’m ready to go another 40 minutes.”

With only eight players healthy and eligible, the Lady Toppers had little chance of upsetting the No. 6 team in the country.

Shooting 20.7 percent in the first half did not help Western’s cause, as the Lady Raiders eliminated the Lady Toppers to move on in the preseason WNIT.

Coming off such a crushing defeat, the Lady Toppers will have plenty of time to prepare before taking the court again.

Cowles will take her team to the west coast over Thanksgiving break to play in the Fresno State Classic.

The Toppers will take on No. 19 Utah on Nov. 28 and will play the winner of the Fresno State-Louisiana-Monroe contest the following day.

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