Lady Raiders Ready for Invitational

Steve Strain, voice of Lady Raider Basketball, shares his thoughts as Tech heads into a tournament this weekend.

   I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and now for us basketball junkies we get our fix of Lady Raider hoops for a few days with the annual Basketball Travelers Invitational this weekend.  Before we get to that, I want to touch on one of the highlights of my time as voice of the Lady Raiders for three plus seasons now that happened this week. 


   What an honor it was to get to meet and interview Sheryl Swoopes on Kristy's radio show Monday.  I remember doing TV back in Abilene and showing highlights of their games during that great run in '93.  Now, some 20 years later, here I am interviewing her as the voice of the Lady Raiders.  What a wild ride the game of life can be! 


  Anyway, I think the fact that Sheryl being around can not only be a plus to the team for obvious reasons, but probably will be good for Sheryl too because I can already tell so many people are excited to see her and will show her that.  She was at the Lady Raider exhibition game at the beginning of November and it seemed like every time I saw her she was shaking hands, signing autographs, or saying hello to a familiar face in the crowd.  Now, she will be at the arena as a color analyst for several games and will experience more of the same. 


  Also, with the 20 year anniversary of the national title and a commemoration of that in February, there will be much more appreciation thrown her way and I'm sure it will be a great experience for her to be in Lubbock and feel the warmth of the fans who support her and the Lady Raiders.


   On the floor, the Lady Raiders kick off the Basketball Travelers Invitational with an interesting Southern Utah team Friday.  I'm anxious to see them because they've shot the ball over 70 times a game so far in their two games.  They like to push the ball after both makes and misses and should be a great test for the Lady Raider defense and particularly their transition defense.  They will play mostly a man defense and so we will see how Tech handles it offensively.                                                   


   Also, look for a couple of seniors who didn't start last Sunday to return to the starting lineup Friday.  Chynna Brown and Casey Morris will join Hyde, Smalls, and Baker at tipoff.  These three day invitationals always provide the team a chance to see some varying styles of basketball and the team tries to use it to adapt to the different types of play they will see from conference teams (and hopefully a lot of non-conference teams they will play in the post season). 


   All the fun starts at 6 Friday with Southern Utah, then it's noon Saturday for Nicholls St. and at 2 Sunday it all wraps up with The University of New Orleans.  If you check out the team web page you can see a lot of very affordable ways to get into the game.  I will go ahead and throw one out and that's by bringing 4 cans of food to the arena and each person that does gets in free! 


  The cans go to the South Plains Food Bank so everybody wins by bringing some food to the arena!  So I hope to see you there and especially hope you bring your radios and listen in. 


  On that note, I've really enjoyed getting to work with Chuck Heinz on the broadcasts this season.  He's got many years in the broadcast business and I think it really makes for an enjoyable listen.  Hope you do too! 

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