Jumpin' Jia

Fish have to swim, birds have to fly and shooters have to shoot.

Tech sophomore guard Jia Perkins averaged 16 points per contest through the Lady Raiders' first four Big 12 Conference games this season as Tech stumbled to a 1-3 league start.

Since then, Perkins has increased her point production, and the results have been favorable for the Lady Raiders, which have won three of their last four conference tilts.

Perkins has upped her point production to 19 points per contest through the last four games and has reached the 20-point plateau three times during that stretch.

Though Perkins has increased her scoring production of late, she gives credit to her teammates for creating open shot opportunities.

"I think we are in a good conference right now, and I think that everyone has had to step their game up, whether it has been on the offensive end or the defensive end," Perkins said. "I think my teammates do a good job of finding the open man. Sometimes, I am the open man, and that gives me a chance to score just because my teammates have given me such great looks. We just create offense off of each other."

Guard Amber Tarr is the only Tech player other than Perkins to lead the team in scoring in the past four conference games. Tarr poured in 21 points in Tech's road win at Iowa State last week.

Tarr said Perkins has been a go-to player for the Lady Raiders when they've needed offense this season.

"Jia is the type of player that is just awesome, and it doesn't really matter what team she is on, she is going to stand out," Tarr said. "I think she has done a great job of making plays whenever we are a little stagnant on offense or defense either way. She is great on both ends. I think she is just a real dynamic player that can make things happen."

In her two years of competing in the Big 12, Perkins has become known throughout the league for her prowess of pulling up on fast breaks and canning the 10-foot jump shot.

Perkins said the shot has become her weapon of choice when outnumbered on a fast break.

"That is my favorite shot," Perkins said. "I think most people think I am going to go to the hole, so I like to get them back on their heels, and I just pull up for the jump shot."

Perkins is also averaging four steals per contest during the last four games, and Tarr said Perkins' offensive and defensive abilities enable her to take over any contest.

"She has that capability to take over a game at any time," Tarr said. "It is basically just a matter of when she decides to do it or if she has the confidence in herself. It is nice to have someone like that on your team, that you know will step up and attack the situation like that."

Sophomore guard Natalie Ritchie entered the Tech women's basketball program with Perkins last season.

Ritchie said Perkins is gets the team ready to play and sets the tempo at which the team competes.

"Absolutely, Jia is one of our leaders," Ritchie said. "She really sets the tempo for our team. When she is hot and she is on fire, she gets everyone pumped up and ready to go."

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