Big 12 Women's Basketball Preview

A new season of Big 12 play starts today. There have been some big changes in the big 12 since last season. These changes have set the stage for an exciting race for the Big 12 Title. Which team has what it takes to win it all? Read on to find out.

The 2001-2002 season was the best yet for Big 12 Women's Basketball. The season saw seven Big 12 teams invited to the NCAA tournament. In the tournament Oklahoma became the first Big 12 team to reach the Final Four. The Big 12 will be a strong conference again this season, but graduations have taken a big toll. This has caused the Big 12 landscape to change somewhat. The most notable change is Oklahoma's decline after last year's Final Four. With Oklahoma falling it looks like Texas Tech and Kansas State will battle for the top spot in what should be a tight race. While the conference isn't quite as deep as last year, there are a few teams that could make deep runs in the tournament.

1.  Texas Tech

 

The Lady Raiders enter conference play with an 11 game winning streak.  Texas Tech puts a very athletic and deep team on the floor, and will try to push the tempo whenever possible because they are nearly unstoppable in transition.  If there is a weakness it is the lack of size inside, but that is somewhat offset by great quickness at every position.  The Lady Raiders are led by the potent scoring combo of Plenette Pierson and Jia Perkins.  The offense  is run by freshman point guard Erin Grant, who brings an assists to turnovers ratio of 2.57 into conference play.  While the offense is powerful, this team may have the best defense in the big 12.  The pressure applied by the guards is complimented by the shot blocking ability of Cisti Greenwalt.

2.  Kansas State

 

Kansas State pulled off an amazing turnaround last season, but now they must maintain their position among the conference elites.  Kansas State is led by Nichole Ohlde at one of the post positions.  Ohlde provides an excellent scoring threat inside.  She also does an excellent job on the boards.  Kendra Wecker provides a nice compliment for Ohlde.  Wecker makes up for a lack of size with great athleticism.  Laurie Koehn is the third piece of the puzzel.  Koehn provides a strong scoring threat from the outside.  The biggest question for Kansas State this season is depth.  Injuries or foul troubl could cause lots of problems during the tough conference schedule.

3.  Texas

 

Texas comes into conference play as somewhat of a mystery.  They had a great win over Tennessee, but have lost all 4 of their road games.  The reason for this inconsistency seems to be Texas' perimiter play.  Texas has one of the best inside games in the Big 12 because of players like Stacey Stephens.  Heather Schreiber provides a versatile scoring threat.  The lack of consistent backcourt play has allowed opponents to focus on stopping these two players.  If Texas can get good guard play they can compete with anyone in the conference, but without good guard play they are very vulnerable to upsets.

4.  Oklahoma

 

Oklahoma made the Big 12's first final four appearance last year, but graduation and injuries have taken a serious toll.  Guard Dionne Brown is the top returning player for Oklahoma, and should provide some veteran leadership in the backcourt.  A couple of new faces lead Oklahoma in guard Maria Villarroel and forward Theresa Shuknect.  Oklahoma, like Kansas State, has a problem with depth.  If any of their key players get into foul trouble it could be a long game for Oklahoma. 

5.  Colorado

 

Colorado is another Big 12 team that has lost some very important players to graduation.  Center Tera Bjorklund and forward Sabrina Scott are the top returnees.  Guard Kate fagan provides a strong scoring threat on the perimiter.  The strong inside game of Colorado may be too much for some of the top teams in the conference.  Colorado also has good, but inexperienced, depth that could be key down the stretch.

6.  Texas Tech

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The Lady Raiders enter conference play with an 11 game winning streak.  Texas Tech puts a very athletic and deep team on the floor, and will try to push the tempo whenever possible because they are nearly unstoppable in transition.  If there is a weakness it is the lack of size inside, but that is somewhat offset by great quickness at every position.  The Lady Raiders are led by the potent scoring combo of Plenette Pierson and Jia Perkins.  The offense  is run by freshman point guard Erin Grant, who brings an assists to turnovers ratio of 2.57 into conference play.  While the offense is powerful, this team may have the best defense in the big 12.  The pressure applied by the guards is complimented by the shot blocking ability of Cisti Greenwalt.

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2.  Kansas State

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Kansas State pulled off an amazing turnaround last season, but now they must maintain their position among the conference elites.  Kansas State is led by Nichole Ohlde at one of the post positions.  Ohlde provides an excellent scoring threat inside.  She also does an excellent job on the boards.  Kendra Wecker provides a nice compliment for Ohlde.  Wecker makes up for a lack of size with great athleticism.  Laurie Koehn is the third piece of the puzzel.  Koehn provides a strong scoring threat from the outside.  The biggest question for Kansas State this season is depth.  Injuries or foul troubl could cause lots of problems during the tough conference schedule.

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3.  Texas

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Texas comes into conference play as somewhat of a mystery.  They had a great win over Tennessee, but have lost all 4 of their road games.  The reason for this inconsistency seems to be Texas' perimiter play.  Texas has one of the best inside games in the Big 12 because of players like Stacey Stephens.  Heather Schreiber provides a versatile scoring threat.  The lack of consistent backcourt play has allowed opponents to focus on stopping these two players.  If Texas can get good guard play they can compete with anyone in the conference, but without good guard play they are very vulnerable to upsets.

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4.  Oklahoma

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Oklahoma made the Big 12's first final four appearance last year, but graduation and injuries have taken a serious toll.  Guard Dionne Brown is the top returning player for Oklahoma, and should provide some veteran leadership in the backcourt.  A couple of new faces lead Oklahoma in guard Maria Villarroel and forward Theresa Shuknect.  Oklahoma, like Kansas State, has a problem with depth.  If any of their key players get into foul trouble it could be a long game for Oklahoma. 

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5.  Colorado

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Colorado is another Big 12 team that has lost some very important players to graduation.  Center Tera Bjorklund and forward Sabrina Scott are the top returnees.  Guard Kate fagan provides a strong scoring threat on the perimiter.  The strong inside game of Colorado may be too much for some of the top teams in the conference.  Colorado also has good, but inexperienced, depth that could be key down the stretch.

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