MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- Shut down their leading scorer and take
them out of their free-throw game -- No. 14 Texas Tech's successful
formula Saturday night in downing Maine 60-50 in the first round of
the NCAA tournament.
Alesha Robertson scored 16 points to lead Texas Tech and Casey
Jackson added 13 points and 12 rebounds while helping hold Maine's
leading scorer, Heather Ernest, to just three points on 1-of-9
shooting."When you shoot 1-for-9, that's not pretty," Ernest said.
"They're very physical and everywhere I turned there seemed to be
somebody else guarding me."Texas Tech (25-7), which will play fifth-seeded Louisiana Tech
in the second round of the Mideast Regional, used a series of short
runs and rarely allowed Maine (25-7) any second-chance baskets.Maine guard Missy Traversi scored a season-high 20 points,
including a three-point play with 13:45 remaining to end an 8-1
Tech run and pull Maine to 39-33.A putback by Traversi with 11:44 remaining pulled Maine to
41-38, but Tech used a 6-0 run to take a 47-38 lead on a basket
Jolee Ayers-Curry with 5:38 remaining.Maine couldn't get any closer than six points the rest of the
way."I thought it was a great competitive basketball game," said
Marsha Sharp, Texas Tech coach. "Exactly what you'd expect in the
NCAA tournament."She said her team looked like it had been off for 10 days and
played just one game in two and a half weeks. "I'm proud of the
way we hung in there and made plays when we had to."Maine coach Sharon Versyp said she was proud of the team effort.
"We just didn't get over the hump. We played hard and had great
opportunities. I give all the credit to Texas Tech."Maine was the nation's eighth-ranked team in free throw shooting
going in but was just 10-of-18 against Texas Tech."It was very frustrating. I've talked all year about how you
don't want to lose a game at the free throw line. I've said it 32
times, and it finally got us," Versyp said.She also said the effort to control Ernest was stellar.
"Heather has played against double, triple, quadruple teams, but
tonight it was very unfortunate for her and us."Davis held Ernest, the two-time America East Conference player
of the year, scoreless in the first half.Monica Peterson added 15 points and nine rebounds for Maine,
which trailed 29-25 at halftime.LaToya Davis added 11 points and seven rebounds for Texas Tech.Texas Tech guard Brooke Baughman had seven assists, including a
pass to Chesley Dabbs, whose basket with 1:05 remaining in the
first half put Tech up 29-23.