Lady Raiders ready for their own big game

This Sunday may feature the NFL's Super Bowl in Houston, but the Texas Tech Lady Raiders have their own big game to worry about when they face off with the Texas Lady Longhorns in a battle of the top women's basketball programs in the state.

Even with all of the hype that surrounds this game, as far as Texas Tech Head Coach Marsha Sharp is concerned all that matters is getting another win. "Obviously every win right now keeps you in the mix a little bit longer, and that's the most important thing about the game," said Coach Sharp. Perhaps the most important thing about this game is to get that first conference road win of the season, and the effect that could have on the Lady Raiders' championship hopes. "If you're going to try and stay in the race for the championship, you have to start winning and you have to start winning some on the road," said Coach Sharp. This game also marks the first time in a while that the Lady Raiders have been faced with the underdog label. "For the first time in several years we're an underdog and we haven't played in that role in a long time," said Coach Sharp. This game comes at a critical juncture in the Lady Raiders' season. With their hopes of a Big Twelve Championship hanging in the balance, this game may come down to mental preparation. "We really have to go down and have a certain mentality about us that we believe in what we're doing and that we have some pride in trying to be Big Twelve champion," said Coach Sharp. "None of our goals are out of reach at this time and we just need to attempt to keep it that way."

That's not to say that coach sharp isn't aware of the significance of the game, she just doesn't think about it quite as much as Lady Raider fans. "I would think our fans think about it more than we do," said Coach Sharp. For the Texas Tech coaches this game might be most important in the recruiting battle. "We understand the significance of playing Texas from a recruiting perspective and a lot of other directions," said Coach Sharp. For the players some of the significance comes from the familiarity they have with the players and schools involved. "These guys have played AAU basketball against all those guys on the Texas team since they were ten years old," said Coach Sharp. "There's a little bit different atmosphere than you get in any other game."

Texas Tech players and coaches are still adjusting to the loss of Jia Perkins, but it seems as if things are finally starting to reach some sort of normality. "I think our practices have been a little bit more focused consistently, and we're beginning to understand our roles again," said Coach Sharp. One of the biggest adjustments has been the change in strategy that came with the departure of the team's leading scorer. "We took the first option out of every one of our offenses when we lost Jia, so everything had to move up a slot, from the way people responded to being the go to player, to having a younger group of players on the floor with them," said Coach Sharp. The coaches have put in a substantial amount of time finding the right mix again. "We've all had to take a look and regroup from a coaching perspective what now would be the best things for us to attempt to do," said Coach Sharp.

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