Big 12 Women's Basketball Tournament
Game 4: No. 6 Texas Tech (21-9) vs. No. 11 Oklahoma State (16-13)
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Mo.
LUBBOCK — Texas Tech has a different attitude when it comes to playing in this year's Big 12 Basketball Tournament.
For the last four years, it's been a place to try and survive or prove that this team belongs in an NCAA Tournament.
Now, it's about something more.
"We're understanding that we're playing for seeding now," Curry said after Tech's practice on Monday in Kansas City. "We're playing for something bigger — not just a Big 12 championship but beyond that. I think that's a huge relief to them."
Tech (21-9) pretty much solidified a spot in this year's NCAA Tournament after beating No. 18 Oklahoma in Lubbock on Saturday — its third Top 25 win this season.
But nothing is for sure this season in women's basketball.
Curry and her players know that a win in the first round on Tuesday against Oklahoma State would give the team one more win and one more reason to be selected on Sunday when the tournament field is announced.
But you don't see the signs of stress in the players' eyes like in past trips to the Big 12 tournament. There were smiles, laughing and sense of a team being focused on one goal in Kansas City.
"We realize that we can play with any of these teams and win," sophomore guard Casey Morris said. "We've beat Baylor. We've beat Oklahoma and Iowa State and Oklahoma State, so now we know we can keep winning and try and win a Big 12 championship."
The Big 12 Conference announced its regular season award on Monday through various "tweets" on twitter rather than the conventional press release. Waiting in the lobby to get on the plane to Kansas City with the team, it was almost like an awards show through the Internet. Then came the announcement I realized everyone was waiting on: Texas Tech sophomore Chynna Brown — Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year.
"It's an honor," said Brown who averaged 8.8 points and 3.7 rebounds, while shooting 38.3 percent from the field, 32 percent from three-point range and 86.2 percent from the free throw line during Big 12 play. "Coach Curry and (Texas Tech SID Tammi Hoffman) told me I had a good chance to be sixth man of the year just for being such a spark off the bench this year. I love being in that role and playing that role and I look forward to bringing even more energy while we are down here in the tournament."
Added Curry: "She's so selfless. She was starting there for a little bit and then said that she just felt more comfortable coming off the bench and being a spark. She just wants her team to win. That's what makes her feel so special. Whatever this team needs, she's going to do. It's just a very unselfish attitude to have. She definitely deserves the honor and I'm just really excited that she got it."
Junior forward Kierra Mallard was named to the all-Big 12 Second Team while sophomore guard Casey Morris and senior Teena Wickett were named to the all-Big 12 Honorable Mention team. Sophomore Monique Smalls also received all-Big 12 Defensive Team honors.