RaiderPower Welcomes Crystal Boles

Former Lady Raider standout Crystal Boles joins RaiderPower for analysis and commentary on Texas Tech Lady Raider basketball. Welcome aboard ... Crystal!

Hi Lady Raider fans, this is Crystal Boles. I am very excited to bring you an inside look at Texas Tech Lady Raider Basketball this season. I'm sure many of you know me, even though it's been quite a few years since I played. I played in the mid-90's for Coach Sharp on teams that were always ranked. We won conference championships and went to the NCAA tournament each year. The furthest we made it in the tourney was the Elite Eight. Some of my best friends to this day are people that I played with in college.

I am now a Principal at an Elementary School in Lubbock and I have been doing the color commentary on the radio and some TV games for the Lady Raiders for about 10 years. The best part about doing the color for games is I can work a regular job that I love, and I still can be around basketball, the game I grew up loving. I mean really, I have gotten to see a lot of great games over the years. Ultimately I enjoy watching the intricacies of basketball. This year the Lady Raider program is hopeful they will see payoff in the way of post season play. It certainly looks like they could be headed in that direction.

The unique additions to the Lady Raider team this year are transforming a team who has well tested depth. Last year with injuries and transfer rules, Tech had to rely on many youngsters providing minutes. The season may have been disappointing to them, but on the plus side, all of their players are on the court this year and they have players who really got better last year.

Even though some of those players will not play as much this year, they will add great depth in practice and off the bench. Morris and Wickett are going to be the two biggest changes you will see. Right away they add athleticism and experience to the team. With that you are going to see some of the defensive focus changing and teams having to defend Tech differently than they did a year ago.

So far players like Barncastle and Mallard have been able to take advantage of weaker match-ups at times that they didn't see last year. And Smalls, who is a great point guard, will be able to distribute the ball easier with the talent around her. This still is no easy task. The Lady Raiders are a different team than they were and two of their starters didn't play last year. So as things are looking up for them, there is still a huge learning curve that has to take place.

Anyone can tell you the heart of a team is what they do when they go up against a similar or better team than they are. The Lady Raiders will have plenty of chances to do that in an always stacked Big 12. But they really have a legitimate chance to move up this year.

I look forward to watching them develop as a team and I can't wait to see how they use their athleticism to defend people. I hope to see you at the games and I look forward to posting on Raider Power this year.

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