LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry knows that Casey Morris' off-night in the 71-70 loss to South Florida doesn't tell the whole story for the Lady Raiders.
"Casey had a really bad day, uncharacteristic, but you tell her to keep shooting it and we wouldn't be dancing if she hadn't brought us," Curry said of Morris' four points on Saturday, well below her 12-point average."As hurt as we are right now and disappointed, I certainly don't want to take away anything from the year that these kids had had."Kelsi Baker fouled out with about five minutes remaining, which hurt the Lady Raiders down the stretch."It threw off our offense a little bit because of Kelsi and Kelsi's rebounding ability and then Chynna (Brown) getting in there driving, creating shots, but we try not to let that affect us," Monique Smalls said."We have players who have stepped up and even though those two players went out, we still kept trying to attack the goal and get rebounds."It is the second first-round loss for the Lady Raiders in three years.Inga Orekhova scored 20 points, including five 3s, to lead the Bulls over the Lady Raiders in the first round of the NCAA tournament.Andrell Smith added 13 points in the win over the seventh-seeded Lady Raiders.Texas Tech led most of the way, but three straight field goals by Smith with about 13 minutes left gave South Florida a 46-44 lead.Christine Hyde hit back-to-back baskets to tie it at 59 and Orekhova hit her final 3 to tie it at 66 with 1:09 left.Smith hit two free throws, Tiffany Conner added one and Alisia Jenkins hit two with four seconds left to make it 71-67 and seal the win for the Bulls (22-10).Hyde scored 20 points and Chynna Brown added 17 to lead Texas Tech (21-11).The Bulls will play No. 2 seed California in the second round Monday night.Viewers watching the final few minutes of the game on ESPN missed the end when the network's feed cut out. A fuse blew in the production truck, according to a statement put out by Texas Tech and the network.Announcer Cara Capuano called the final 30 seconds over the phone. The feed finally came back after the final buzzer sounded, showing South Florida's cheerleaders celebrating the victory.Orekhova was 6 of 13, including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.Smith and her sister Andrea Smith were contained in the first half, finishing with a combined four points. But Andrell Smith got hot in the second half and her team needed it.The Lady Raiders went cold from the field in the second half, getting just two field goals in a 10-minute span.When they did start to hit some it was too late. Akila McDonald's got a 3-point play to put the Bulls up 57-52 with 5:41 remaining.The Bulls outrebounded the Lady Raiders 45-40 and outscored them 28-22 in the paint.Texas Tech led 31-30 at halftime.