Lady Raiders Ready for Stretch Run

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders begin the second half of conference play with their eyes on the Big 12 Title. What will it take for Texas Tech to claim the regular season championship? Read on to find out.

The Lady Raiders have finished the first half of conference play at 7-1, but they will face an even greater challenge in the second half of the conference schedule.  Five of the next eight games will be rematches against Big 12 South opponents.  The Lady Raiders anticipate some defensive changes in these rematches.  "I would think the second time around in conference play people would try to take things away from Pierson, and make us create some offense from other spots", said Texas Tech Head Coach Marsha Sharp.  Texas Tech will try to take some of the pressure off Pierson, but she will still be the focal point of the offense.  "We'll look for some offense from our perimeter a little bit more.  We'll definitely run it through Plenette, but I would guess that she'll be defended a little bit stronger than she was the first time around", said Coach Sharp.  Despite the impressive start, the coaching staff is still trying to make this a better team.  "We've continued to talk to our players about the three things that we think maybe are still weaknesses that we have to get better at every day in practice, and obviously when we have a chance to play games that's our ability to defend the five player, our rebounding ability on both ends of the floor, and then our ability to score points at the free throw line", said Coach Sharp.


The next test for the Lady Raiders will be the Iowa State Cyclones.  The Cyclones have had some disappointing losses, but their upset over Kansas State shows how dangerous they can be.  Iowa State's style of play will present the Lady Raiders with some different challenges.  The first challenge will be finding a way to stop Iowa State from making three pointers.  "I think you do have to defend them a little differently than you do most other people.  We usually defend everything from the inside out.  I think against Iowa State you defend it from the outside in, and you try to take away the 3-point shot from them as consistently as you can", said Coach Sharp.  "we'll play some switching man defense and try to make sure we not only defend them well on the three point line, but try to stop as much penetration as we can".  The Cyclones also play some unique defenses.  "They'll run a lot of box and one, triangle and two, diamond and one type defenses where they pick one player and man them, and then play a zone against everyone else", said Coach Sharp.  The Lady Raiders will have to stick to their offensive philosophy no matter what defense the Cyclones use.  "You can't become so impatient that you get away from the things that you do best.  For instance it wouldn't be a very good plan for us to probably come out and shoot thirty threes against that zone when we don't do that regularly", said Coach Sharp.


Coach Sharp also commented on the possibility of using more zone defense during the second half of conference play.  "What I would really like to do is just change the tempo of the game or come out and give people a different look for a couple of trips if nothing else", said Coach Sharp.  "The more successful we are, the more I'll be willing to get in it because I do think you can protect some people a little bit and maybe if you wanted to go with a small lineup like a Grant and Tennal together, it would allow you to do that maybe without the size difference being a problem".

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