Lady Raiders to face Arkansas State

Six games and five wins into the 2004-05 season, Texas Tech takes to the road for the Duel in the Desert tournament in Las Vegas. Along with a winning record and a young team, the Lady Raiders take the Big 12 Player of the Week, sophomore forward <B>Alesha Robertson</B>, to meet Arkansas State.

Texas Tech buried the University of Mississippi Lady Rebels 86-38 to wind up their early-season home stand at 4-0. Paced by junior Chesley Dabbs' 21 points, Tech needed alternatives to its strategy of relying on senior center Cisti Greenwalt. One was Dabbs; another was LaToya Davis, posting her first double-double. As they have all season, the Lady Raiders sent 12 different players onto the floor – and for the first time, freshman walk-on Lauren Mitchell was among them. Tech had two other season-firsts in the game: a Lady Raider fouled out, and Greenwalt was held scoreless.

Arkansas State beat in-state rival Arkansas-Pine Bluff 85-43 December 11. Five players scored in double figures for the Lady Indians, and forward Vanessa Schrock posted the first double-double of her career with 14 boards and 10 points. Arkansas State's defense forced Pine Buff to cough up 31 turnovers in the game while limiting the Lady Golden Lions to 25 percent shooting.

The Lady Raiders moved up in the national rankings to 12th Monday. Robertson's average score of 17.7 points a game currently leads the league. Two more Lady Raiders are in the top 25 scorers: Dabbs, who averages 11.3 points per game, and Greenwalt, who averages a double-double: 12.8 points and 10.5 rebounds.

Meeting Tech pits the Lady Indians against a nationally ranked opponent for the fourth time this year. They upset #23/24 Texas Christian University (TCU) December 5, 68-64, on the strength of a 12-4 run during the last five minutes. Louisiana Tech, then ranked 21st in the country, beat Arkansas State 67-50 on November 28. Fourteenth-ranked Minnesota had beaten Arkansas State 82-45 in the Indians' season opener during the Subway Classic tourney.

The upset against TCU was Arkansas State's first win over a Top 25 opponent since beating Kansas, then ranked No. 20, in 1999-2000. It also broke a two-game, on-the-road losing streak.

Lady Raider defenders set a school record for stinginess against Mississippi, holding the Rebels to 11 field goals in 68 tries. Following the win over Ole Miss, Tech owns the Big 12's top average for scoring defense with 46.3 points allowed per game; only Iowa State currently has a higher scoring offense. The Lady Raiders also top the league in scoring differential with a 31.5 favorable margin, and trail only Colorado in free throw efficiency, sinking 101 of 139 so far. Only Texas has a better field goal percentage; Tech has scored on 170 of 366 shots this season and owns the league lead in trey percentage, field goal defense percentage, and blocked shots.

Four seniors play for Arkansas State: Schrock, a 5-11 native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who played ball for Kirkwood Junior College; 5-11 guard Lane Zaneta; center Rodneikka Freeman, formerly from the University of Kansas, and 5-10 guard Amber Abraham. The Indians' junior class is comprised of 5-9 guard Ronnie Maglaughlin, a Dodge City Community College transfer; 5-9 Ali Carter; and 5-7 Katie Caraway. Four sophomores – Rudy Sims, a 5-7 guard, Amanda Gragg, a 5-2 guard, Tabitha Christian, a 6-3 forward, and 6-3 center Adrianne Davie – augment Arkansas State's strength, as do freshmen Kelly Alford, a 5-8 guard, Rachel Brown, a 6-2 post player, and six-foot guard Kelsey Lock.

For the year, Carter leads the team in minutes at nearly 31 and points at 14.1 per outing; Sims follows with a team-high 34 assists and 15 steals, a .353 three-point average and 12.4 points overall, while Davie owns the team rebounding lead at nine per game. She scores an average of 10.4 points during an average 29.7 minutes per game; half her shots from beyond the arc have been on the money, and she has corralled five steals and blocked five shots. Lane averages 8.6 points in 20 minutes per game and has nine thefts to her credit, tying her with Caraway for the banditry title. Caraway averages almost 18 minutes a game and 8.3 points to go with 4.1 rebounds. Schrock plays 28.9 minutes per outing; her average output is four points per game.

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