Lady Raiders ready to move on

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders have faced substantial adversity in the past week. First there was the Wednesday loss to Iowa State, and then the night before facing Baylor, the Lady Raiders learned that their leading scorer, Jia Perkins would be leaving the team for undisclosed medical reasons. Texas Tech players rallied to defeat the Baylor Lady Bears.

The biggest question is what this team can do without Jia Perkins. Does her loss change any of the goals that the Lady Raiders laid down before the season? "Not one thing has changed. We've had to slide everyone up one spot in the rotation on the perimeter, but other than that not one thing is different," said Texas Tech Head Coach Marsha Sharp. Texas Tech showed fans that they weren't going to let anything stand between them and their goal of a conference championship when they defeated Baylor less than twenty-four hours after learning of Perkins' departure. "The biggest positive is that we won, and I think that was the most important thing of the day," said Coach Sharp. "We had talked about as a group, that it didn't make any difference how it looked or what we had to do to win, we just had to find a way to win and that's exactly what they did."

While the Baylor victory isn't going to be mistaken for a wonderfully played game anytime soon, there were some positives. "Some players really stepped up in the end and made some big plays for us," said Coach Sharp. That's something that has suddenly become an even more critical part of the Lady Raiders' hopes. Another positive was to get some young players some experience in important situations. "We had two opportunities to do it in the last week, and actually made big plays both times, but Iowa State topped one," said Coach Sharp. While Iowa State did manage to get the victory, Baylor wasn't so lucky. Alesha Robertson's offense combined with great defense gave Texas Tech a victory on Saturday. "I thought we really had some courage to step up and do what we had to do," said Coach Sharp. Those two games gave Texas Tech players a chance to gain the type of experience that can only come from close games. "You can't simulate that in practice," said Coach Sharp. That experience will help out the younger players, Robertson in particular. "It's something the more you go through it, the more comfortable you become being the go-to player," said Coach Sharp. Being a go-to player shouldn't be anything new to the freshman. "Certainly she's done that her entire career and her championships with Plainview," said Coach Sharp. The Texas Tech coaches are confident that Robertson can, and will, fill that crucial role for the Lady Raiders. "I don't think that there's any question that she will fill that role for us, and wants to fill it, said Coach Sharp. "I'm really comfortable with her doing that."

Next up for Texas Tech is Nebraska. The Lady Huskers have seen a major improvement of their team since the Lady Raiders last saw them. "They're balanced; they have a good inside-outside punch," said Coach Sharp. For the second game in a row, Texas Tech will have to find a way to deal with a pair of big players in the post. "They're big inside and their post players play well together," said Coach Sharp. Their offense isn't limited to their post players though. "Cannon-Johnson gives them a big offensive threat on the perimeter, and they've got some pretty good shooters around those three," said Coach Sharp. Even with the Lady Raiders slipping in the polls, Coach sharp knows that the target on their chests hasn't gotten any smaller. "No matter what we're ranked today, that bull's-eye will still be on us," said Coach Sharp.

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