Young Guns Ready To Roll

Like a hurricane ready to unleash its fury on any who tread in its path, the new Lady Raiders' young guns are ready to let loose on the world of NCAA women's basketball. The 2004-2005 edition of the Texas Tech Lady Raiders will host the West Coast All-Stars Sunday at 2:00 P.M. at the United Spirit Arena.

The Lady Raiders will take on a different look this year with 5 freshmen, 3 sophomores, 3 juniors and one senior in the mix. Should some worry about such a young team, rest assured that some have called these young guns the most talented, athletic team the Lady Raiders have ever put on the floor.

Cisti Greenwalt is the lone remaining senior on the team. Her history with medical problems early in 2004 is well documented. However, what might not be so well known about New Mexico's 2001 Player of the Year is that she has taken the reins as the leader of the Lady Raiders and is fit and focused on this season. Practice shows Cisti sleeker and much more mobile than last season. Her determination to improve her shot and her moves around the basket has paid dividends as she easily shakes even 6-6 practice opponent, Patrice Edwards. Patrice has already given notice that she intends to challenge Cisti's school record, 195 blocked shots, in her tenure at Tech. Edwards can rebound and score with the best as she was named Co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. With Cisti, Patrice and LaToya Davis manning the boards for Tech, the Lady Raiders should boast one of the strongest front courts in the Big 12.

The "Jazzy Juniors" will shine this year led by All-American prospect, Erin Grant. Slashing through defenses and rocketing pinpoint passes will not be the only responsibility for Grant this year. A product of Mansfield High School that won four straight state championships under her leadership, Erin has worked hard in the off-season to develop her 10 foot jumper and her 3-point shooting. Erin is a "coach on the floor" directing the Lady Raiders' offense and defense.

Chesley Dabbs will be a surprise to some this season. Her new-found confidence and her leaner, faster frame will enable her to explode offensively this year. She is eager to run and shoot and has the physical skills to create some exciting fastbreaks for the Lady Raiders.

LaToya Davis is a warrior. Baylor can attest to that as she gave them fits with her scoring and rebounding last season. LaToya is even stronger now and looking to be a major force inside with her hustle and grit as she works the boards.

With the boundless energy of a five-year old dashing to the playground, Brooke Baughman fires up the Lady Raider workouts all the while having fun preparing for the big games. She is an absolute firecracker as she pushes the ball up the court challenging her teammates to run with her. Like Chesely, Brooke has shaken the timid ways of last season and has become a mature and confident force for Tech. Marsha has asked her to learn both the point guard and the shooting guard positions for her team. She has responded in fine fashion, and she is extremely capable at both. Look for Brooke to take outlets from our rebounders and skitter up the floor to dish out some exciting fastbreak points. Did I mention her 3 point shooting is "dead-on?"

Alesha Robertson is...well...Alesha Robertson. ARob is probably the most versatile and exciting player for our Lady Raiders. As a freshman, she was asked to step up and fill some big shoes in the middle of Big 12 play last year. Alesha responded by leading the Lady Raiders in scoring, pulling down a number of timely rebounds, busting out on the fastbreaks, and nailing free throw after free throw. With all of the weapons the Lady Raiders enjoy, there will not be a "go to" player. Alesha will be our shining star in crunch time.

The newcomers are fantastic. All I can say is that Darrice Griffin is "the real deal." The 6-1 power forward from Seagraves is a player that takes command of the paint as an athletic scorer and a rebounder. Darrice will give LaToya some valuable rest and contribute while she is on the floor. Darrice is our "rising star!"

The California connection: Erin Myrick is a "work in progress." She has the physical stature to guard a Stacy Stephens-type player and an excellent work ethic. In practice, she constantly quizzes the coaches, asking them to help her with her technique and positioning. Erin may be a year away from being a force for the team.

In the '60's, there were noted people with free spirits. The impression of Judith Smith is that she is her own person, confident in her abilities and ready to play. Judith is cat-quick and looks be to "a colt ready to bolt." Judith will play the 2, and we will see some Jia-like steals and fastbreak points from her. Judith, literally, "shoots from the hip," but, bottom line, her shots go in! Expect some exciting moments and plays from Judith.

Tawanna Flowers will play the 3. She can nail a 3-point shot and her background as a Levelland product says that she has been coached well in the fundamentals.

Enrica Jonson is an unknown. Reports say that her injury has come back. She is a sleek slasher and can handle herself on the boards.

Anticipated Starters
1 -- Erin Grant
2 -- Chez Dabbs
3 -- Alesha Robertson
4 -- LaToya Davis
5 -- Cisti Greenwalt

The New Posse
1 -- Brooke Baughman (first off the bench at either position)
2 -- Judith Smith
3 -- Tawana Flowers
4 -- Darrice Griffin
5 -- Patrice Edwards

The West Coast All-Stars played Tennessee last year losing by 29 (who didn't) and played UNLV losing by 9. This is not a slouch team. Tech should see a tough opponent and a good game on Sunday. Invite your friends to come to the game. The Lady Raiders have the #3 attendance rating in the nation. Why not make it #1?

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