Texas Tech slows Riley to take second straight win

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Six straight losses weren't enough to make Jordan Barncastle and Texas Tech stop believing the postseason was possible.

In perhaps the nation's deepest division, the Lady Raiders are trying to make a late-season charge.

Barncastle scored a career-high 19 points and Christine Hyde added 12 as Texas Tech notched its second straight win against a ranked opponent by beating Oklahoma State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) 65-57 on Saturday night.

The Lady Raiders (15-9, 3-7 Big 12) had lost six straight games -- all against Top 25 teams -- before beating then-No. 13 Texas A&M on Wednesday. But Tech got out to a hot start and never trailed while sending the Cowgirls to their third straight defeat.

"Playing Top 25 teams is no excuse for defeats, but I think that definitely we don't like the feeling of loss," Barncastle said. "I think that we're doing everything that we can do now, and we know what it feels like to beat [No. 13] and [No. 15].

"I think that we're building on that and maintaining that energy throughout."

Playing in a division in which each of the other five teams are ranked in the top 15, Tech fell to 1-7 in the Big 12 with a variety of losses. Some were close, such as the 95-90 double-overtime loss to Texas that started the six-game skid. And some were blowouts, including the 30-point defeat against the Longhorns that ended it.

That loss was the first without leading scorer Kierra Mallard, who has been suspended indefinitely. Barncastle, a sophomore, replaced her in the starting lineup and had a breakthrough against the Cowgirls (18-6, 6-4).

"We've had some injuries and we've had a suspension and we've lost some heartbreakers. That's one thing about these kids. They've just stayed the course and continued to buy in and to believe in what we're trying to tell them," Tech coach Kristy Curry said.

"I don't think there's any question that we were happy to finally get that second one, and it makes that third one easier and hopefully it's going to make the fourth one and the fifth one. You can sit here and say what you want but we still believe we can get in [the NCAA tournament] at 7-9 or 8-8 or 9-7. We really do."

Andrea Riley, the nation's top scorer, led Oklahoma State with 18 points but was eight below her average. She also didn't make a free throw for the first time this season, while getting to the line twice.

Riley, who leads the Big 12 with 153 free throws in 193 attempts, said she couldn't explain why she didn't get to the foul line. OSU coach Kurt Budke suggested she was less aggressive after picking up two first-half fouls and one early in the second half.

"We didn't give them anything easy and we did not put them on foul line," Curry said. "You cannot put her on the foul line. She does a great job of getting her body into you and jumping into you. We tried to watch a lot on film with that and we did a better job than we've done in years past on her, I thought, as far as keeping her off the line."

After trailing by 14 midway through the second half, the Cowgirls charged back to get within four with 3:55 to play but couldn't get any closer.

Riley and Toni Young each had a pair of baskets as OSU scored eight straight points to cut its deficit to 55-51, but Barncastle hit a pair of free throws to stop the surge and Tech was able to stabilize from there.

Riley got Oklahoma State back within 62-57 with a layup in the final minute but she committed her fifth foul with 37.4 seconds left while trying to press on the ensuing inbounds pass.

"Very, very disappointing night. That's all," said Riley, who was 8-for-22 from the field. "That's the words to explain tonight."

Tegan Cunningham added 17 points and Young had 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for OSU, which made it to the top 10 for the first time in school history last week and had a chance to tie for the conference lead with a win at Nebraska before the current skid started.

"It's just pretty much gut-check time for this team," Budke said. "Are you willing to do the little things that it takes to win in the Big 12? Obviously, we've done it before this and I don't know if they've hit a little wall here or whatever's happening, I'm not sure.

"If I knew the answer, I'd tell you. I don't know the answer."

Oklahoma State's players held a team meeting after the game

"We've just got to get back to the basics," Riley said. "We haven't been doing the basics the last couple of games. You've got to block out, you've got to rebound and you've got to defend."