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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Jackie McFarland scored a season-high 32 points and assisted on the decisive basket as Colorado opened the Big 12 Conference tournament by beating Texas Tech 71-67 on Tuesday.
Whitney Houston scored the tiebreaking bucket for Colorado (13-16), which advanced to a quarterfinal matchup Wednesday against top-seeded and 13th-ranked Texas A&M. Texas Tech (15-16) saw its hopes for a possible Women’s National Invitation Tournament berth end with the loss.
Much as in the teams’ regular-season meeting, won 70-67 by Colorado after 17 lead changes, the teams continually swapped the lead, doing so nine times in the final 6:10.
Texas Tech took its final lead at 67-66 on a turnaround jumper in the lane by Patrice Edwards with 1:57 left. Twenty seconds later, Edwards fouled out and McFarland, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game.
Colorado’s Aija Putnina forced a jump ball on an attempted shot by Texas Tech’s LaVonda Henderson with 1:19 left. At the other end, McFarland set up inside, caught an entry pass, waited for a second Tech defender to arrive, then passed to a cutting Houston for an easy layup and a 69-67 lead with 37 seconds left.
The Lady Raiders had two chances to tie or take the lead. Erin Myrick missed a shot and Colorado’s Susie Powers rebounded, but was called for traveling with 13.3 seconds left. Off the ensuing inbounds play, Brooke Baughman missed a 3-point attempt. After a scramble for the rebound, Henderson missed a long 3-point shot and Houston rebounded.
McFarland made two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to seal the win for Colorado. She finished 14-of-16 from the line and added 12 rebounds and four assists. She missed her career scoring high by two points.
Jasmina Ilic added 19 points for the Buffs.
Alesha Robertson led Texas Tech with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Henderson added 14 points and Edwards had 13 for the Lady Raiders, who went 4-of-20 from 3-point range and were outrebounded 41-32.
Texas Tech jumped to a 10-3 lead, but Colorado scored the next 11 points. The Lady Raiders responded with an 8-0 run to go up 18-14, but thanks to two three-point plays by McFarland, the Buffaloes had pulled even at 28-28 by halftime.
McFarland had 15 points in the half, helping offset Colorado’s 15 turnovers.
Ilic scored nine points in the first five minutes after halftime, giving the Buffs a 39-33 lead. But Texas Tech turned up the defensive pressure, going to a full-court press midway through the second half, and went up 55-49 with 7:58 left on a free throw by Edwards.
Colorado answered with an 8-1 run to go ahead 57-56 with 6:10 left. The Buffs had 10 second-half turnovers.