Winning through chemistry

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders currently stand at 14-0, thanks in large part to their athleticism, but there's more to this team than just pure athleticism. Great team chemistry has allowed Head Coach Marsha Sharp to give substantial playing time to every player on the team, resulting in the deepest bench in the country.

Texas Tech has somehow managed to play all eleven players for nine minutes or more per game. This has resulted in some nationally recognized players such as Jia Perkins and Erin Grant only playing 25 and 27 minutes per game respectively. Despite the drop in playing time, nobody on the team has had any complaints. "Something I've been so amazed about this team is they haven't been concerned about number of minutes they've played or number of points they've scored necessarily as long as we win," said Coach Sharp. And win they have, in spectacular fashion. Texas Tech has only had a handful of games that were still in question by the time the second half started. "That's been a huge strength for us. It could be easy for them to wonder how many minutes they're going to get in the game, but when you're playing eleven and trying to keep everybody fresh and keep a new unit on the floor, they have to be unselfish," said Coach Sharp.

Part of the reason for the lack of complaints is probably the realization that this team has the potential to find its way to New Orleans for the Final Four. Before the season the players had the goal of winning it all. With a 14-0 start, and a ranking atop the coaches' poll, that goal looks more realistic, and the players are enjoying it. "This is the most fun I've had with any basketball program," said Natalie Ritchie, who is currently sharing time with freshman phenom Alesha Robertson. This season has turned into something special for these players who dreamed of one day winning a national championship when they were in high school. "When you're in high school, you want to go to a school that you think being a great program to win the national championship," said Jia Perkins.

All of this has left Coach Sharp with nothing but praise for her players. She says she's never coached a team like this before. "This is the first time I've ever had the luxury of playing eleven deep, and it's been fun," said Coach Sharp. It's also been an enjoyable season for the hall of fame coach. "It's been a great team for me to coach. I've had a great time with them," said Coach Sharp. "Their chemistry on the floor has probably been the best I've ever coached."

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