Plenette Pierson scored 22 points as No. 8 Texas Tech rallied late to defeat No. 7 Kansas State, 71-65, last night in the semifinals of the Big 12 Conference tournament at Reunion Arena in Dallas.
The third-seeded Lady Raiders move on to face top-seeded Texas, which beat Colorado, 62-47 in the first semifinal, in Saturday's final. Texas Tech hasn't advanced to the final since 1999, when the Lady Raiders beat Iowa State to win their second Big 12 title in a row.
Texas Tech guard Natalie Ritchie was carried off the court on a stretcher after she hit her head on the floor as she scrambled for a loose ball near the end of the game.
Ritchie remained on the court for about 10 minutes while team doctors tended to her. The extent of Ritchie's injuries wasn't immediately known.
In the first semifinal, Stacy Stephens had 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Longhorns. Top-seeded Texas (24-5) won its 12th straight game by fighting off a stiff challenge from a Colorado team that appeared to have a sole offensive focus: get the ball to Tera Bjorklund.
Bjorklund, who tied a Big 12 tournament mark with 32 points in a quarterfinal win over Oklahoma, got the better of a matchup against Stephens by exploiting her four-inch height advantage with a series of arching jump hooks. She finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
But Stephens didn't shy away from mixing it up in the paint with Bjorklund. Both players each scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, then were taken out during a timeout a few seconds later.