Greenwalt, Lady Raiders spank Stanford
Texas Tech’s Cisti Greenwalt, a former Clovis High standout, goes up for a shot against Stanford’s Kristen Newlin in the second half of Sunday’s showdown of top 10 women’s teams in Lubbock. Photo by Rick White
LUBBOCK — On a team with virtually interchangeable parts, Cisti Greenwalt gives Texas Tech the one thing the fourth-ranked Lady Raiders don’t have — a defensive presence in the paint.
Making her first start of the season, the former Clovis standout helped spearhead a dominating defensive performance as the Lady Raiders beat Stanford 55-46 on Sunday in front of a raucous crowd at the United Spirit Arena.
After playing sparingly in the first month of the season, Greenwalt has stepped up her play the last four games.
“She figured out the way she was going to get minutes was playing well at the defensive end,” Texas Tech coach Marsha Sharp said. “If she plays well at the defensive end, the offense will come.
“With her size and her timing, she can be one of the best defensive post players in the country.”
Greenwalt’s presence in the middle helped Tech (11-0) hold Stanford 25 points below its season average.
Both teams had trouble scoring consistently in the physical battle between top 10 teams.
Plainview, Texas, freshman Alesha Robertson led Tech with a career-high 18 points in her first collegiate start and sophomore Jemetra Clark added 11 off the bench.
“We had a lot of individuals step up tonight and we really played well on defense,” Sharp said. “We’re excited to be 11-0 and we’ve learned a lot of lessons to get there.”
Greenwalt, a 6-foot-5-inch junior, finished with six points, three rebounds and three blocked shots in 21 minutes.
“I was really nervous,” Greenwalt said of her first start. “We got off to a fast start and I think that set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Texas Tech never trailed, taking a 36-25 lead early in the second half on Erin Grant’s fastbreak layup. Stanford sliced the lead to 38-36 on Kelly Suminski’s uncontested layup with 10:31 left.
Tech responded with a 15-2 run over the next six minutes, including 3-pointers by Robertson and Natalie Ritchie and five points by Clark, a 6-1 slithery post from Hale Center, Texas.
“We stopped taking good shots and weren’t running our offense,” Greenwalt said of Tech’s second-half scoring drought. “We were taking the first shot instead of running the offense and being patient.”
Sharp said she started Greenwalt and Robertson in hopes offsetting some things Stanford likes to do.
“I think one of the biggest strengths of this team is we have a lot of different looks and a lot of different matchups,” Sharp said. “We felt like there were some things we could do with the matchups that would be effective against Stanford.”
Stanford’s top scorer, Nicole Powell, injured her left ankle with six minutes left in the first half and did not return.
Powell, averaging 22 points and 11.8 rebounds, was held scoreless and committed four turnovers.
Kristen Newlin, a 6-5 freshman, gave the Cardinal a huge boost off the bench with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Suminski and Sebnem Kimyacioglu added eight points each. Stanford finished with 22 turnovers and shot just 19-of-60 from the field.
Tech led 30-21 at halftime.