The Associated Press
LINCOLN, Neb. — Chesley Dabbs carried Texas Tech with her offense in the first half. Her defense was stellar all game.
Dabbs scored 15 of her 21 points the first 20 minutes and shut down high-scoring Nebraska guard Kiera Hardy for long stretches to lead Texas Tech to its eighth straight win, 68-58 on Wednesday night.
The Lady Raiders (14-2, 5-0 Big 12) made their final eight free throws to hand Nebraska its first home loss in 10 games.
Texas Tech entered the game outscoring teams by an average of 28 points and built a double-digit lead early in the second half. But Nebraska (11-6, 3-2), which knocked off then-No. 2 Baylor in triple overtime a week ago, drew within two with 3:20 left.
“We knew that this was going to be a difficult place to come try get a win because we knew what they’ve accomplished this season,” Texas Tech coach Marsha Sharp said. “We held off a lot of challenges and we really made some plays when we had to.”
Whenever the Huskers looked as if they would take the lead, Texas Tech responded with a key basket, often by Erin Grant, who had 11 of her 16 points in the second half.
“It talks about how mentally tough (our players) are and how passionate they are about winning,” Sharp said.
Nebraska’s Hardy made just 6-of-17 shots and finished with 15 points, 13 under her Big 12-leading average in conference games.
“She’s got a good step-back shot that’s deadly,” Dabbs said. “But we played team defense. I knew that all my teammates had my back if she went to the lane.”
LaToya Davis added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Alesha Robertson finished with 11 points for Tech. Cisti Greenwalt had a game-high 12 rebounds.
Hardy hit a jump shot to trim Texas Tech’s lead to 57-55. The Lady Raiders pulled away on Robertson’s jumper and free throws by Grant and Davis.
Robertson’s 3-pointer with 7:58 left in the first half broke a 17-17 tie and started a 17-8 run that gave the Lady Raiders a 34-25 halftime lead.
Hardy, averaging 27.8 points through four conference games, made a 3-pointer to open the game and then missed 7-of-8 shots before regaining her touch in the second half.
Dabbs made 7-of-12 shots in the first half, but just important, she frustrated Hardy.
“Chesley had a very difficult job tonight to try to control her,” Sharp said. “We weren’t interested in trying to keep (Hardy) from scoring because she’s a great player. We did want to limit the number of points she had.
“To hold her to 15 in a game as up and down as much as that one was a great thing.”
LaToya Howell, held scoreless in the first half, scored eight points to provide some offensive spark during the Huskers’ comeback.
But when the Huskers needed Hardy the most, she couldn’t deliver. She missed the front end of a one-and-one when the Huskers had a chance to tie with under five minutes left, and she missed two other shots when the Huskers were within four points.