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This item originally appeared in the February 3, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

By BRIAN TYNES

Sports Writer

Five days after setting the Western Athletic Conference regular-season winning streak record, the Techsters (12-5, 8-1 WAC) fell to the Boise State University Broncos 62-59.

The loss is only the third for the Techsters since joining the WAC at the beginning of the 2001-02 season.

The Broncos only other conference win this season came against last-place Nevada.

Boise State's Benita Buggs hit only her fifth three-pointer of the year with 1.3 seconds remaining to give the Broncos the lead, but despite being Tech's leading scorer, Tasha Crain was unable to hit a buzzer beater to tie the game.

Crain had 18 points, four rebounds and three assists in the game.

Tamika Kursh pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds and added 11 points in the contest.

Tech led 30-23 at halftime despite shooting 27.6 percent from the field in the opening stanza, but the Techsters saw their lead begin to slip with 10:27 left in the second half.

Cassidy Blaine hit back-to-back three pointers, and Tasha Harris got a three-point play with a steal and a foul, all within a minute, to cut the lead to three points.

Boise State's first lead came with 2:05 to play on a jumper by Buggs. The Techsters battled back to tie the score at 59 and held the ball with 40 seconds remaining in the game.

A 10-second differential between the game clock and shot clock forced Tech to shoot the ball early, and Lakiste Barkus missed a three-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play. The Broncos grabbed the rebound, and Harris pushed the ball up the floor to find Buggs in the corner for the game winner.

Tech's head coach Kurt Budke said offensive inconsistency made the difference.

"When you shoot 34 percent and only score 59 points, you're not going to win very often," Budke said. "The days of just showing up and winning are over."

The Techsters took the court against the University of Texas-El Paso looking to avenge their loss.

Crain scored 27 points in the 82-69 victory and added five assists.

Shan Moore, Margaret DeCiman and Barkus also scored in double digits with 17, 14 and 13 points, respectively.

On the strength of a 17-4 run and a 7-0 run in the first half, Tech led 40-24 at the midway break.

Tech hit only ten field goals in the first half but was 18-for-19 at the free-throw line and finished the game 28 of 31, a remarkable improvement from the 15 of 27 performance against Boise State.

The Techsters opened the second half by increasing the lead to 48-28 with 17:18 to play.

UTEP then closed the lead to 12 points on a 10-2 run, but Tech pushed the advantage to 21 before UTEP dropped four three-pointers in the final four minutes to close the gap.

However, it was not enough to overcome the deficit.

Budke said Crain had an off day earlier in the week but returned to form against UTEP.

"She struggled early [against Boise] because she missed practice Monday and Tuesday to satisfy a class requirement, and it took her a half to figure the game out," Budke said.

"But Saturday she was the best guard in the nation."

Perhaps the most impressive performance came from DeCiman, whose 14 points were a career-high and came just two days after a 12-point performance.


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