Lady Raiders ready for Baylor

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders may be coming off a tough loss, but the Big Twelve schedule leaves no time to mourn a loss. Instead the Lady Raiders will host a strong Baylor team that attacks one of the weaknesses of this Lady Raider game, their post defense.

Recovery is a word that has been used often around the Lady Raiders' practices the last two days, and with good reason. "We've got to recover; we've got to get ready to play tomorrow. I think that's what the Big Twelve is all about," said Texas Tech Head Coach Marsha Sharp. According to Coach Sharp, one game does not a conference schedule make. "It's not who wins one game or another, it's a sixteen game schedule, and whoever is tough enough to get through that," said Coach Sharp. Losses are a fact of life when it comes to Big Twelve play, especially on the road. That's part of what comes with playing in one of the top conference in the nation. "I think the first three dates that Big Twelve opponents have played kind of proves that right in the fact that there's only one team that's still undefeated in it after only three rounds of play," said Coach Sharp. "It's going to be that kind of conference. You could probably lose several games and still have a chance to be in the race for the championship."

The Iowa State loss has given the Lady Raiders a chance to focus on some potential problem areas, starting at the charity stripe. "First of all, we've got to shoot free throws better, and I think that was the whole reason we weren't able to win at Iowa State," said Coach Sharp. The other problem was tentativeness on the offensive end of the court. "We just have to have people who can jump up and make decisions in an offensive set and score," said Coach Sharp. One particular problem on the offensive end has been noticed by Coach Sharp. "I thought we got some great looks around the elbows, and I told them yesterday, division one players that are playing in the top ten in the country have to be able to make free throw line jump shots," said Coach Sharp. Those chances became available after the shooters forced the Iowa State defense to guard the three point line, but nobody was able to take advantage of the opportunity. "We didn't have the people step up when they got after Natalie and Alesha when they made those shots for us," said Coach Sharp. There were some good things that came out of the loss though. Erin Grant and Chesley Dabbs both asserted themselves on the offensive end, keeping Texas Tech in the game. "It talks about the thinks we're going to have to do," said Coach Sharp. "I thought Chesley in particular came in and really made the most of her moments. Grant also had a good game from a scoring perspective, something Coach Sharp wants to see more of. "I wish Erin had shot the basketball more," said Coach Sharp. "She's capable of doing that, and she has to convince herself that she's going to have to gain the respect of people around the conference by shooting the basketball there, and I'm really looking for her to do that."

Texas Tech will need to make all of those improvements in a short time, as they must face Baylor on Saturday. Coach sharp knows that Baylor won't come into the United Spirit Arena and be tentative like many opponents are when they come to Lubbock. "They'll come in here guns blazing," said Coach Sharp. It's not just the attitude of Baylor that makes them dangerous, they're also a very capable basketball team. "They have a really good basketball team. They're especially good in the post area, and we'll have to play some of the best defense we've played all year to stay in the game with them," said coach Sharp. That defense will have to be centered around the paint, where Baylor uses physical play to make the most of each trip down the floor. "I'm really impressed with their team, and they'll take you and drive you into the backboard if you don't do a good job against them," said Coach Sharp. Baylor's win over Texas on Wednesday along with the Texas Tech loss was the first time that the Big Twelve has seen two top five teams fall on the same night. What does that say about the Big Twelve? "We're all either really good or really bad," said Coach Sharp. "But I have a feeling that we're all good."

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