Oct. 17, 1997

Lady Raiders Begin Practice with Midnight Madness Celebration

Four starters return to help Tech in 1997-98

LUBBOCK, Texas -- The Texas Tech Lady Raiders will begin preparing for the 1997-98 basketball season by participating in the school's first-ever Midnight Madness.

Festivities begin tonight with a tailgate party at 8:00 p.m. in the east parking lot of the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. The Coliseum doors will open at 9:30 p.m. with free food and drinks and a variety of activities available for fans. The Texas Tech women's and men's teams will be introduced at 11;35 p.m. and will begin practice with a scrimmage at 12:01 a.m. Lubbock's KLBK-TV is scheduled to televise the event live beginning at 11:35 p.m.

Head Coach Marsha Sharp enters her 16th year guiding the Lady Raiders. Tech will have 10 letterwinners and four starters returning from a squad that went 20-9 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

All-America and Naismith candidate Alicia Thompson will lead Tech. Last season she led the team and the Big 12 Conference with 23.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Thompson has already been chosen as a first team All-America in Street and Smith's College Basketball preseason edition. Other returning starters include All-Big 12 third team selection Rene Hanebutt, who led the conference in three-point field goal percentage with .449, Crystal Boles, the Big 12 leader and nations' seventh leading shot blocker last season, and Julie Lake, the Lady Raiders most accurate free throw shooter during the 1996-97 campaign.

"Alicia has the chance to be one of the very best basketball players in the country this year. She has proven she can score. I think we are going to be pretty balanced. I think we have a very strong inside game and our perimeter game will match that.," Sharp said.

The Lady Raider welcome four newcomers, three of which have garnered All-America honors. Junior college transfer Angie Braziel, a Kodak All-America and second team NJCAA All-American, joins Tech from South Plains College. A Western Junior College Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and NJCAA All-America pick, Kyna Cosby comes to Tech from Howard College. Walk-on Kim Martinez, who played softball for the Red Raiders last season, was a Kodak All-America Honorable Mention pick in 1996 while playing at Sacramento City College. The lone freshman, is Katrisa O'Neal of Plainview High School, a first team All-State selection last season.

The Lady Raiders will conduct their first full workout on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Women's Gym. Practice will be open to the general public. Tech will open their 1997-98 season against the University of Texas-San Antonio in the UTSA Classic Tournament on Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. The Lady Raiders will open their home season on Dec. 6 against McNeese State at 2 p.m.


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