As the midway point of conference play approaches, the race for the Big 12 basketball title is heating up. Iowa State's upset of Kansas State has resulted in a virtual 3-way tie at the top of the standings.
The Kansas State loss puts the Lady Raiders in control of their own destiny. "I think that is a better feeling, to feel like you can control your own destiny", said Texas Tech Head Coach Marsha Sharp. The Lady Raiders have certainly benefited from the Kansas State loss, but the loss is also a sign of how tough the road to the Big 12 title can be. "There may only be three or four teams that are good enough that they can win the championship, that can go through sixteen games and play well enough, but there are 12 teams in the Big 12 who are good enough to upset anyone on a given night", said Coach Sharp. With that in mind, the Lady Raiders aren't too worried about the conference standings right now. Coach Sharp said, "We don't need to look at the big picture very often, we just need to look at the next game, and get prepared for that"
The next game will take the Lady Raiders to Lawrence to face a Kansas team that has won it's last two games. "They're probably playing with as much confidence as they have in a couple of years", said Coach Sharp. Kansas will bring try to test the Lady Raiders with some different defensive looks. Coach Sharp said, "They run a lot of match up zone, and that will be interesting to see how we react to that because we haven't played against it very much this year". Texas Tech will have to attack the seams in the zone and shoot the ball well if they are going to be successful on the offensive end.
While the Lady Raiders are focused on the next game, the Coaching staff is taking steps to make sure that their team can be as strong in March as they are right now. The staff has made a concerted effort to give this squad quality depth. This depth is one of the strengths of this Texas Tech team. "I've always thought our strength was going to be our depth. I think probably the longer the Big 12 race goes, the more important that's going to become", said Coach Sharp. The Lady Raiders have used the many blowouts this season to give the bench players quality playing time. This has also allowed the starters to get some well deserved rest, which could be a key down the stretch. "When you get to the end of February and the Big 12 tournament in March, the stronger your legs can be, and the less wear and tear you have, I think you're probably a lot better off", said Coach Sharp. While depth isn't always needed, it is a nice luxury to have. Coach Sharp said, "We've done it both ways, and I sure like it when you have some kids that are more rested in March"