Cal Nipped By No. 5 Texas Tech

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - The closer the game, the better Jia Perkins seems tolike it. On Monday night, she proved that.

Perkins scored 23 of her 29 points in the second half, leading fifth-rankedTech to a 76-69 victory over California.

''I love close games,' Perkins said. 'I just wanted to go out there anddo what I could for the team. Luckily, I hit a few shots.'

She scored eight of Tech's nine points during a critical second-half runthat helped the Lady Raiders (7-0) break open a close game.

'Jia showed she's is a big-time go-to player tonight,' Texas Tech coachMarsha Sharp said. 'She really made a difference.'

Casey Jackson added with 17 points and Natalie Ritchie 14 for the LadyRaiders, playing their third game in four days.

Nihan Anaz and Leigh Gregory had 17 points apiece for California (3-2).

Tech led 52-48 with 9:50 left when Perkins came up with a steal and went thelength of the floor for an 8-foot jumper. She added consecutive jumpers onTech's next two possessions, giving the Lady Raiders a 58-50 lead.

Jackson contributed a free throw before Perkins drove in for a layup thatprovided Tech with a 61-50 lead with 5:26 left. Following a Cal free throw,Perkins threw a pass to Jackson for a layup that pushed the margin to 63-51.

'We tried three different defenders on her, and finally, we double-teamedher, but it was too late,' Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer said. 'She is a greatplayer who can take that team on her shoulders and take them where they need togo.'

California moved to 67-59 on a three-point play by Gregory with 1:35 leftand eventually closed the gap to 74-69 on a pair of free throws by LaTashaO'Keith in the game's final 10 seconds.

Olga Volkova and O'Keith added 10 points apiece for Cal, also playing forthe third time in four days.

Cal's pressure defense forced the Lady Raiders into 19 turnovers and keptthe game close throughout.

Tech led by as many as eight points in the first half, taking a 30-22 edgeon a driving hoop by Erin Grant. Cal, though, took advantage of a lengthyoffensive lull by Texas Tech and closed the gap to 34-32 with 1:29 left.

Jametra Clark's 12-footer closed the first-half scoring and gave the LadyRaiders a 36-32 lead at the break.

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